In the vast landscape of the American tire market, a handful of colossal brands reign supreme, yet only a select few proudly bear the ‘Made in the USA’ label. Join me on a journey through the rubber roads as we explore the tire brands that call America home and those international players crafting their treads on American soil.
Whether you’re seeking knowledge or aiming to roll with American pride, this article is your compass in the tire terrain.
But before we dive into the rubber revolution, let’s unravel the mystery – how do you decode if a tire truly carries the stamp of ‘Made in the USA’? Buckle up for a ride through the ins and outs of tire origin identification.
How to Identify Tires Made in the US
The easiest way to know where a tire was made is by looking at the DOT code. The Department of Transportation (DOT) uses the code to track tire production and for use in case of a recall. Where a tire was made is indicated by the alphanumerics that come immediately after the letters DOT.
For instance, DOT U2LL, U2 is a code for where the tire was made.
So, how do you use the code? To know the name of the plant search that code from the NHTSA website. In this case, U2.
If a tire does not have the DOT code it is probably because it’s not made for the American market and hence it’s illegal to drive it in the US, like a lot of cheap Chinese tires.
Now let’s get into American tire brands and foreign brands that have production facilities in the US
American Tire Brands – Born and Bred
1. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company is an American company that was founded in 1898. This century-old brand operates in 23 countries and has more than 57 production facilities. It’s headquartered in Akron, Ohio. Goodyear reported $17.5 billion in sales in 2021.
Goodyear also owns these tire brands:
- Dunlop Tyres – Which operates in North America, New Zealand, Australia, and Europe.
- Douglas Tires – Tires sold on Walmart
- Debica – (Poland) Bought in 1995
- Fulda – (Germany) Bought in 1966
- Sava – (Slovenia) Took over in 2004
- The Kelly Springfield Tire Company – purchased by Goodyear in 1935
Goodyear USA Tire Plant Codes
|Fayetteville, North Carolina||PJ|
|Tyler, Texas.||MP, PL|
|Union City, Tennessee.||MK|
|Fayetteville, North Carolina.||MM, PJ|
2. Cooper Tire & Rubber Company
Update: Cooper Tire & Rubber Company is now owned by Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. The company was acquired in 2021 but the tire names will remain the names.
Cooper Tire and Rubber Company is another Akron, Ohio-based tire company that was founded in 1914. The company was founded by two brothers-in-law after they bought M and M Manufacturing Company and The Giant Tire & Rubber Company
Today, Cooper Tire & Rubber Company operates in more than 13 countries and has more than 60 facilities.
Apart from the flagship brand (Cooper) Cooper Tire also makes other tires under different brand names. They include;
- Avon Tyres – Europe
- Mickey Thompson Tireless Wheels
- Dick Cepek Tires and Wheels
- Mentor Australia
- Mastercraft Tires
- Dean Tires
- Starfire Fires
- Roadmaster Tires
Hoosier is an American tire brand that makes racing tires.
Its DOT code is J7 – LAKEVILLE Indiana.
The next group is foreign tire brands that manufacture some of their tires in the US. There will be a few tire brands that were founded in the US but are now owned by foreign companies. They include General Tire and Uniroyal.
Tires Made in the US by Foreign Brands
In 2021, Michelin was the world’s-leading tiremaker, followed by Bridgestone, Goodyear, and Continental in fourth place. This French multinational brand has been on the market since 1889 and is based in Clermont-Ferrand.
It has 123 production facilities in 26 countries and sells tires in over 126 countries. In the US, Michelin has 20 manufacturing plants.
Most of the Michelin tires made in the US are made in the following plants
- Dothan, AL Light truck tires
- Tuscaloosa, AL Passenger tires
- Fort Wayne, IN Car tires
- Ardmore, OK Passenger tires
- Starr, SC Semi-finished products, earthmover tires
- Greenville, SC Passenger tires
- Lexington, SC Passenger tires
- Lexington , SC Earthmover tires
- Sandy Springs, SC Semi-finished products
- Spartanburg, SC Truck and bus tires
- BFGoodrich (US company owned by Michelin)
- Uniroyal (US)
- Camso (Canada)
- Multistrada Arah Sarana (Indonesia)
- Kleber (France)
- Tigarbrothers-in-lawiken (Japan)
- Kormoran (Polish)
Founded in 1872, Pirelli is a French multinational tire brand headquartered in Milan, Italy. Pirelli operates in over 160 countries and has 19 production facilities in 13 countries. Pirelli owns Armstrong Tires.
Pirelli tires made in the US will have the following plant codes
- Hanford, California -CH
- Madison, Tennessee -CK
- Rome, Georgia -JR
Founded in 1871, Continental is a German car accessories brand that manufacturers products such as tires, brake systems, and interior electronics, among others. The company employs more than 250000 employees.
In 1987, Continental acquired General Tire, an American company, when it officially entered the North American tire market. The company operates in over 61 countries
Other tire brands owned by continental include,
- Uniroyal – Belgium
- Semperit -Austria
- Barum -Czech
- General Tire -USA
- Viking -Germany
- Gislaved – Sweden
- Mabor – Portugal
- Matador -Slovakia
- Sportiva -Ireland
Continental tires made in the US will have the following DOT codes
- Vernon, Illinois – 6B, A3
- Bryan, Ohio – A9
- Charlotte, North Carolina –AC
- Mayfield, Kentucky – AD
- South Sumter, South Carolina – VY
- Bolton, MISSISSIPPI- 02P
- SOUTH SUMTER, NC 1VY
Bridgestone owns Firestone
Founded in 1931, Bridgestone is another Japanese tire company, headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. The company operates in more than 150 countries and employs more than 135,000 employees. Bridgestone has 181 production facilities spread in over 24 countries.
Bridgestone and Firestone Tires made in the US will have the following codes
- Wilson, North Carolina – 0B, W2, Y2
- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – 1C, HY
- Morrison, Tennessee – 2C, 4D, 5D
- Bloomington, Illinois – 2M, 3M
- Graniteville, South Carolina – 7X, 8X, 9X
- Des Moines, Iowa – 8B, VE, YE, YU
- Lavergne, Tennessee -D2, E3, W1, Y7
- Decatur, Illinois – YD
Tire brands owned by Bridgestone
Yokohama is another Japanese tire brand and is one of the biggest tire manufacturers in the world. The company operates in over 120 countries and has more than 27,000 employees. In the US, Yokohama has only two production facilities in West Point, Mississippi, and Salem, Virginia.
Yokohama tires made in the US will have this code,
CC – Salem, Virginia.
As you have seen there are only two big tire brands that are American-owned, the rest are mostly foreign companies. Luckily, most of the other foreign brands have production facilities in the US. However, it’s not a guarantee that their tires are made in the US. The only way to know where a tire was made is by checking the DOT code to see the name of the production plant. This list does not cover all the companies that have production facilities in the US. Also, some of these plants may have been closed.
Sam is Automole’s editor-in-chief and classic car enthusiast. Sam is studying mechanical engineering at Cockrell School of Engineering, Austin. He also writes for many top automotive publications and appears on the Collecting Cars Podcast.