COOPER TIRE COMPANY HISTORY
The Cooper name has a proud heritage that goes back nearly a century to 1914, when brothers-in-law John F Schaefer and Claude E Hart purchased M and M Manufacturing Company in Akron, producing tyre patches, tyre cement and tyre repair kits. A year later, Schaefer and Hart purchased The Giant Tire & Rubber Company of Akron, a tyre rebuilding business, and two years later moved the business to Findlay, Ohio.
The company grew in subsequent years through mergers, acquisitions and expanding sales. During World War II, the company demonstrated its flexibility and patriotism by converting its ‘hard goods’ department to wartime production.
The firm changed its name to Cooper Tire & Rubber Company in 1946 and by 11 July 1960, the company became a publicly held corporation and was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Throughout the next five decades, the company expanded its products, manufacturing plants, distribution system and marketplace. In 1983, Cooper Tire & Rubber Company joined the ranks of Fortune 500 companies as one of the largest industrial companies in the United States. Net sales reached $1 billion in 1991.
By 1999, Cooper had fifty manufacturing facilities in nine countries. Much of the company’s growth came through the acquisition of The Standard Products Company, a move that added 10 000 employees to its payroll.
With the purchase of the highly regarded Avon Tyres Limited, based in Melksham, England, in 1997 and the acquisition of Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels in 2003, Cooper positioned itself as a pre-eminent producer of high-performance and ultra-high performance tyres.
In a December 2003 agreement, Cooper entered a joint venture with Kenda Rubber Industrial Company Ltd for construction of a plant outside Shanghai, China, to produce radial passenger and light truck tyres. Then, returning the company to its core business of tyre manufacturing, Cooper completed the sale of its automotive business, Cooper-Standard Automotive, in December 2004, for approximately $1 165 billion. The sale included the forty-seven manufacturing facilities and operations of Cooper-Standard Automotive, a global manufacturer of fluid handling systems, body-sealing systems, and active and passive vibration control systems, primarily for automotive original equipment manufacturers.
The sale in turn provided new opportunities for growth. In January 2005, Cooper announced an agreement to buy an 11 percent interest in Kumho Tire. That month, the company also announced it was forming a new commercial division encompassing both Oliver Rubber Company and commercial tyres.
In October 2005, the company announced an agreement to obtain 51 percent ownership in China’s third largest tyre manufacturer, Cooper Chengshan (Shandong) Passenger Tire Company Ltd and Cooper Chengshan (Shandong) Truck Tire Company Ltd.
Today, Cooper Tire & Rubber Company is a truly global company, boasting more than 65 manufacturing, sales, distribution, technical and design facilities located around the world.
Cooper continues to improve plant efficiencies while capitalizing on its strong customer service and dealer relationships in North America; expanding its distribution network in Europe; and marketing Cooper tyres as a top brand into Africa. New products are driving increased sales and creating additional opportunity and growth potential.