The Cooper Tire & Rubber Company traces its origins to 1914, when two Ohio businessmen launched the M and M Manufacturing Company, a producer of tire patches, tire cement, and tire repair kits. Through steady growth, an acquisition and a timely merger, a new company emerged in 1930, taking on its current name in 1946. Cooper Tire and its subsidiaries have a growing presence in the U.S. market, selling original equipment tires to auto manufacturers and replacement tires to consumers. Here’s everything you should know about this important U.S.-based tire manufacturer.
Cooper Tire: From founding through the war years
The first pneumatic tires appeared in the late 1880s, initially developed for bicycles and later for automobiles. Starting in the beginning of the 20th century and continuing over the next few decades, each of the major tire manufacturers had their start.
Like many tire manufacturers, Cooper set up shop in Akron, Ohio, During the 20th century, Akron was known as the Rubber Capital of the World (today it’s the City of Invention). In 1922, Cooper Tire moved two hours west to Findlay, Ohio, its present location.
During the Second World War Cooper was known as Master Tire and Rubber Company. The company was an important contributor to the war effort, manufacturing landing boats, pontoons, inflatable barges, life jackets, and tires to supply Allied forces. As a result, the federal government recognized Cooper’s contribution, contributing to an unprecedented growth spurt in subsequent years.
International growth and OEM reach
Cooper Tire sales growth continued for the rest of the century and by 2000, the company had 60 manufacturing plants located in 13 countries. Some of that growth followed the acquisition of the Standard Products Company, the largest maker of automotive sealing systems in North America. Both companies are part of the Cooper-Standard Automotive Company.
As the consumer market expanded, Cooper Tire was there. In 2013 Cooper announced its first U.S. passenger car equipment contract, providing Ford Motor Company with original equipment tires for its Ford Focus SE and Titanium models. That milestone was significant, as it expanded the company’s reach into a new arena where it’s an emerging presence.
Acquisitions and expansion
Acquisitions brought additional names into the Cooper Tire fold when the company acquired Britain’s Avon Tires Limited in 1997 and Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels in 2003. The latter acquisition allowed the company to flex its performance and racing tire muscles. Subsequent acquisitions or partnerships in China, Slovakia, and Mexico enabled Cooper Tire to further expand its global footprint. Today, the company employs over 10,000 people worldwide, with more than 2,000 at its Findlay headquarters alone. The company is the official tire of the Canadian Hockey League and sponsors such events as Indy Lights and the Pro Mazda Championship.
Cooper Tire is the fifth-largest tire manufacturer in the United States and sits in twelfth place in the world. Top products include Cooper Discoverer A/T3 all-terrain tires and Cooper Discoverer STT Pro mud terrain tires, both made in the United States. Cooper’s product line covers the full range of passenger vehicles – cars, trucks, crossovers, SUVs, and minivans. If you’re looking for high-quality, well-priced tires from an American company, be sure to include Cooper Tires in your search.