Who Makes Tires?

Introduction

Many drivers are interested to know the country of origin of tires they are considering purchasing. While this may seem to be a straightforward question, it does require some digging.

Virtually all major tire companies have headquarters in one country but manufacture in multiple other countries. For example, Michelin is based in France but has 68 plants globally, including six separate U.S. locations.

In this article, we take a comprehensive look at who makes tires and where.

Where Are Major Tire Companies Headquartered?

The 15 largest tire companies in the world generate ~$130 billion dollars in revenue annually. Asia has the most companies, although Europe and the U.S. are well represented.

The U.S. has two of the top 15 companies. Goodyear is ranked 3rd in sales, and Cooper Tires is the 13th largest globally.

Tire CompanyHeadquartersRevenue ($ Billion)
BridgestoneJapan$27.2
MichelinFrance$25.4
GoodyearU.S.A.$15.4
ContinentalGermany$13.1
SumitomoJapan$6.8
PirelliItaly$6.2
HankookKorea$6.1
ZhongceChina$4.8
YokohamaJapan$4.1
Cheng ShinTaiwan$3.7
MRF Ltd.India$3.5
ToyoJapan$3.0
CooperU.S.A.$2.9
ApolloIndia$2.2
NokianFinland$1.7

Source: Market Research Reports

How to Tell Where Tires Are Made?

Obviously buyers can ask retailers or do internet research. Another way is to look on the side of the tire.

Tires that have met U.S. Department of Transportation testing requirements will have a Tire Identification Number (T.I.N.) following the letters “DOT” on the side of a tire.

The 2-3 letters or numbers immediately following DOT are the plant code that indicate the manufacturing location.

DOT plant code on the side of a tire

There are hundreds of plants across the globe and thus, hundreds of codes. For example, “AT” would be manufactured by Cooper-Avon in Wiltshire, England.

If it said “0B” instead, that would mean a Japanese-owned Bridgestone tire manufactured in Wilson, North Carolina. A full list of codes can be found here.

Who Makes Tires?

Other than questions about how often to rotate tires and how to read tire size numbers, the next most asked tire-related question is “who makes ____ tires?”

If you are deep into the tire shopping process and considering multiple brands, doing the required research can be tedious. We provide the answers below.

Questions are answered in descending order based on search volumes.

Who Makes Mastercraft Tires?

Mastercraft tires are made by Cooper Tire & Rubber, which has its headquarters in Findlay, Ohio. Cooper has the following U.S. manufacturing plant codes:

  • U9 (Tupelo, Mississippi)
  • UP (Findlay, Ohio)
  • UT (Texarkana, Arkansas).

They also have operations in China, England, Mexico and Serbia. Mastercraft tires are sold at WalMart, Pep Boys, Amazon and several discount online retailers.

Who Makes Ironman Tires?

Ironman Tires are a separate brand that is part of the Hercules Tire & Rubber Company. Hercules is a subsidiary of American Tire Distributors (ATD). ATD is a North American tire distributor.

Hercules has had a 50+ year relationship with Cooper Tires who manufactures tires for Hercules as part of their private label business. Ironman tires are marketed by Goodyear as well.

Ironman tires sold in the U.S. may be manufactured overseas.

Who Makes Douglas Tires?

Douglas All Season Tire with silver rim

Douglas Tires is a brand that was created in 1992. Goodyear Tires registered the name through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Kelly Tires.

Today, Douglas Tires are marketed exclusively through WalMart. Douglas tires are budget-to-mid tier tires usually priced between $50 to $100 per tire.

Who Makes Falken Tires?

Falken Tires is a brand owned by Sumitomo Rubber Industries in Japan. Sumitomo is the 5th largest tire company in the world.

Sumitomo introduced Falken to the U.S. in 1985. It dissolved its partnership with Goodyear in 2015, buying the Tonawanda, NY facility outright. The rebranded company began producing Falken tires in Tonawanda in 2016.

Falken focuses on high-performance tires targeted at both the mass and premium segments.

Falken tires may be purchased at WalMart, Amazon and online companies like Tire Rack and Simple Tire.

Who Makes Milestar Tires?

Milestar Tires are made by the Nanking Rubber Tire Corporation located in Taipei, Taiwan. They are distributed in North America by TIRECO, a distributor and marketer of private brands.

Milestar makes a full range of passenger, light truck/SUV and commercial tires. The tires are aimed squarely at the budget market but generally get excellent customer reviews in terms of value for money.

They can be found at WalMart, Amazon and discount retailers such as Tires-Easy and Discount Tire Zone. They are popular budget Subaru Outback tires.

Who Makes Westlake Tires?

Westlake Tires are manufactured by Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber in China and marketed in the U.S. and Canada. Tires are manufactured at their modern plants in Hangzhou and Zhejiang.

They focus on the budget tire replacement segment and do not sell OEM tires in the U.S. Westlake tires are usually priced from $50 to $100, although all terrain and other specialty tires will be more expensive.

Westlake had some historical recall problems that have improved in recent years.

Who Makes Nexen Tires?

Nexen Roadian HP with silver and black rimsNexen Tire Corporation is headquartered in Seoul, South Korea and has been in business since 1942. It is an international company that falls just outside of the Top 15 manufacturers in terms of revenue.

Nexen was an innovator in rubber/stratified silicate nano-composite technology that gave it a boost in ultra high-performance and winter tires. Most of their tires are made in Korea or Qingdao, China.

In the U.S., Nexen tires can be purchased at WalMart, Amazon or specialty retailers such as Tire Rack. Nexen makes a wide range of tires aimed at both the value and premium segments.

Who Makes Cooper Tires?

Some tire questions are easy. Cooper tires are made by the Cooper Tire & Rubber Company. No detective work sorting through subsidiaries and private label agreements is required here.

As we noted with Mastercraft Tires above, Cooper is headquartered in Findlay, Ohio. U.S. manufacturing centers include (plant codes and locations below):

  • U9 (Tupelo, Mississippi)
  • UP (Findlay, Ohio)
  • UT (Texarkana, Arkansas).

Cooper Tires are widely available in the U.S. through retailers like Amazon, Discount Tire Company, Midas, Pep Boys, Tire Rack and WalMart to name a few.

Who Makes Antares Tires?

Antares tires are made by Zhaoqing Junhong Company in Guangdong, China. Founded in 2006, the company manufactures a full range of tires including all season, all weather, winter and all terrain tires for sedans, SUV and light trucks.

Antares tires are budget oriented, usually priced between $50 to $100. They have a reputation as “good value for the money.”

Who Makes General Tires?

General GMAX tireThe General Tire & Rubber Company was founded in 1915 in Akron, Ohio. In 1987, it was sold to Continental AG in Germany.

Continental maintains its North American headquarters is in Fort Mill, South Carolina and has several manufacturing facilities in the U.S.  These include:

  • A3, 6B (Mount Vernon, Illinois)
  • VY (South Sumter, South Carolina)
  • Under construction (Jackson, Mississippi).

General sells a full range of passenger, SUV/truck and commercial tires. Depending on the model, tires sold in the U.S. could be manufactured in the U.S., Brazil, France, Germany, Mexico, Portugal, Romania or Slovakia.

General tires can be found at WalMart, Amazon, Tire Rack and most online tire retailers.

Who Makes Hankook Tires?

Hankook tires are made by the Hankook Tire Company in South Korea. Hankook literally means Korea, so basically the Korea Tire Company.

Established in 1941 Hankook is the 7th largest tire company globally. North American headquarters have recently moved to Nashville, Tennessee. It offers a full range of passenger, SUV/truck and commercial tires.

Most tires sold in the U.S. are made in Korea. However, Hankook recently opened its first U.S. manufacturing plant in Clarksville, Tennessee.

Who Makes Primwell Tires?

Giti Tire of Singapore manufactures Primwell tires.  Giti is one of the largest tire companies in the world offering a full range of tires.

Most Giti tires are manufactured in multiple Chinese plants. It recently opened a new facility in Chester County, South Carolina with the capacity to produce 5 million tires annually.

To see the country of origin for Primwell tires, you will need to check the plant code on the side of tires (see earlier discussion on how to read plant codes).

Who Makes Fuzion Tires?

Fuzion UHP tire with black rimFuzion tires are made by Bridgestone. Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. It is the world’s largest tire company at this time.

Fuzion is a budget, no-frills brand. They offer passenger and light truck/SUV tires. Almost all Fuzion tires sold in the U.S. are manufactured in China.

They can be purchased at online retailers such as Amazon or Tire Rack.

Who Makes Pathfinder Tires?

Pathfinder tires are manufactured by Kumho Tire Company headquartered in South Korea. They provide a full line of passenger, SUV, truck and commercial tires.

It has manufacturing plants in China, Korea and Vietnam. Kumho recently opened a manufacturing plant in Macon, Georgia. The Macon plant will focus on 17-inch, ultra high performance tires targeted at the Hyundai, Kia and Chrysler OEM market.

Pathfinder tires are also available at Discount Tire Direct.

Who Makes Starfire Tires?

Starfire Tires is a brand manufactured by Cooper Tire & Rubber headquartered in Findlay, Ohio.

The Starfire brand is “value without sacrificing quality.” They offer a full range of passenger, performance, light truck, crossover and SUV tires.

Their tires are often described as “American designed and Asian made.” They are designed specifically for North American road conditions.

Starfire tires can be purchased at WalMart, Amazon and discount retailers such as Simple Tire. Prices usually start at around $50 per tire but can go as high as $200 for premium models.

Who Makes Continental Tires?

Continental Super Contact Tire

Continental tires are made by Continental AG headquartered in Hanover, Germany. They are the 4th largest tire company in the world.

They make every conceivable type of tire for every budget level. Continental purchased U.S.-based General Tire in 1987.

North American headquarters are in Fort Mill, South Carolina. U.S. manufacturing locations include Mount Vernon, Illinois; South Sumter, South Carolina; and Jackson, Mississippi.

Continental Tires can be found at WalMart, Amazon and multiple online specialty retailers including Tire Rack, Simple Tire and Discount Tire Direct.

Who Makes Sumitomo Tires?

Sumitomo HTR Tire with black wheelSumitomo Tires are made by Sumitomo Rubber Industries based in Kobe, Japan. It is the 5th largest tire company in the world.

In the U.S. they sell tires under both the Sumitomo and Falken brand names. U.S. Falken operations have been based in Tonawanda, NY since 2016.

As a major global company, Sumitomo sells tires in all categories. Tires sold in the U.S. are usually manufactured in Japan, Thailand or Tonawanda, New York.

Like most major brands, they can be purchased at WalMart, Amazon and Tire Rack.

Who Makes Uniroyal Tires?

Uniroyal was an American company that could trace its roots all the way back to 1892. After several reorganizations, Uniroyal was bought by Michelin in 1990.

Uniroyal was most famous for its iconic Tiger Paw tires. They were a big hit with muscle car drivers and remain popular today.

Today, the brand is more of a mid-tier tire and can be purchased at WalMart, Amazon and online retailers like Tire Rack.

Uniroyal tires sold in the States typically are manufactured in Taiwan or Indonesia in addition to the U.S.

Conclusion

Understanding where and who makes tires is complicated. Most major tire companies have plants all over the world. So knowing where the headquarters is located is not that helpful.

Even knowing the brand name is not that helpful.  For example, Continental AG manufactures tires in America. However, depending on the exact sub-model, a Continental/General tire sold in the U.S. may be made in the U.S., Brazil, France, Germany, Mexico, Portugal, Romania or Slovakia.

If country of origin matters to you, the only sure way to know is the look up the plant code located on the side of tires sold in the U.S.

Leave a Comment