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History

Foundation

Established in 1917.
Yokohama Cable Manufacturing Co., Ltd. (current Furukawa Electric Co., Ltd.)

Business executive Suekichi Nakagawa (1874-1956), won the confidence of Ichibei Furukawa, and married Furukawa’s eldest daughter. He studied at Yale University before joining Furukawa Mining Co.,Ltd. Nakagawa was named senior managing director of Yokohama Cable Manufacturing Co., Ltd. in 1914. After that, he held executive positions in Furukawa group companies, and was inaugurated as president of Yokohama Rubber in 1924. Nakagawa contributed to the foundation and management of Furukawa Electric Co., Ltd., Fuji Electric, and (Japan) Nippon Light Metal Co., Ltd., playing an active role as a leader in the Furukawa zaibatsu conglomerate.

Suekichi Nakagawa


Monument marking the company’s birthplace
1917 Established in October in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture with a joint investment from Yokohama Cable Manufacturing Co., Ltd. (current Furukawa Electric Co., Ltd. ) and BF Goodrich, of the United States
1919 Hiranuma Plant started production of tires in Hiranuma, Yokohama

Hiranuma Plant Era

The Hiranuma Plant was finished in the town of Hiranuma, city of Yokohama, in 1920. As quickly as possible, advanced metallurgical facilities and equipment to produce belts, hoses, and tires imported from the United States were installed, and production began. The high quality of the products from the Hiranuma Plant soon gained an excellent reputation in industrial circles.

Hiranuma produced Japan’s first corded tires, a bellweather of things to come. Nevertheless, the Hiranuma Plant lasted only two years and a few months before being destroyed by the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. Needless to say, we faced myriad trials before the plant could be rebuilt.


Staff pose with the first corded tires manufactured at the Hiranuma Plant

Inside the Hiranuma Plant’s reinforced concrete building
1921 Japan's first cord tire successfully manufactured
1929 Yokohama Plant started production of tires in Turumi, Yokohama

Yokohama Plant Era

Early in the Showa Era (1926-1989), our company’s rapid growth was due in great part to the excellent domestic rubber products that came from our Tsurumi Plant in Yokoyama.


V-belts, Y-type tires, and other products were indispensable to the industrialization of Japan. The Yokohama Plant expanded until it was fully 10 times larger than the Hiranuma Plant had been, and had the largest production capacity of any rubber factory in Japan. That said, near the end of WWII, air strikes turned our plant to ashes and we were once again without a main production site.


In 1937, the tire brand name was changed to Yokohama. The “Y-type tire” became a best seller thanks to drastically improved durability, and its sales continued to grow.

Yokohama Plant circa 1943


I“Gomu Dori” (rubber street) survives in Tsurumi-ku, Yokohama.
1937 Tire and industrial products trademark renamed "Yokohama"
1944 Mie plant started production of tires

Rebuilding from the Ashes of War

Rising from the ashes of war, our company set out to recover its production capacity and rebuild the corporation.
The first items we were able to produce were automobile tires from our new Mie and Mishima plants.
We were also able to renew our tires with B.F. Goodrich, which had lapsed during the war.
Regulations on rubber products were at last eliminated, and in the 1950s we entered a freely competitive situation. At this point, construction of our long-awaited Hiratsuka Factory was started.

 

In 1952, the long-planned Hiratsuka Factory opened. It produced industrial products and vinyl products for large tires.
1950 Mishima plant acquired from Meiji Rubber Manufacturing Co., Ltd.
1951 Hiratsuka Factory started operations
1952 Headquarter moved from Yokohama to Tokyo
1954 Launching of the Japan's first tubeless tire

Toward Rapid Growth

From 1955, Japan enjoyed robust economic expansion, and the country at last moved “beyond post-war,” according to the 1956 government economic white paper. With “beyond post-war” as a rallying cry, Japan’s domestic GNP rose an average of 10% per annum through 1960, which pushed the economy well into the unprecedented high-growth period.
Yokohama further built an extension to the Hiratsuka Factory many times and branched out into vinyl products, aerospace components, and other new businesses.
New product development such as synthetic rubber and nylon cord was also stimulated.


The headquarters building circa 1957


The headquarters building completed in 1961. Its brilliant illumination made it stand out like a beacon.








“Smileage” launched in 1962.
A combination of “Smile” and “Mileage.” Its signage used the "smiley" face popular in the U.S. and built a positive brand image for Yokohama in Japan as car ownership grew steadily.
1957 The first tire containing synthetic rubber in Japan launched
1958 Launching of the Japan's first nylon cord tire
1961 New Yokohama Rubber headquarters building opened
1963 Corporate name changed to The Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd.
1964 Completion of Shinshiro plant

With Motorization

With rapid economic growth came motorization, and the automobile industry saw growth as never before.
Between 1960 and 1970, tire production increased by five times.
New expressways opened one after the other, and penetration of radial tires moved ahead apace.
Our tire plants increased production but were still hard pressed to keep up with demand, so we built new plants in Shinshiro, in Ibaraki, and then Onomichi.


Then-world largest OTR tire
40.00-57 60PR
First ADVAN series HPT radial tire launched. Its catchphrases were “Sports mind is born,” “The fruit of high performance.”



The drama of PRGR started from this carbon driver engraving the head speed. (1978)
1967 Launching of radial tire for passenger car <GT Special>
Launching of the Japan's first 70 series radial tire for passenger car <GT Special Super Model>
1969 Yokohama Tire Corporation established as a sales company in Los Angeles, the United States
1970 The first steel radial tire for truck and bus in Japan <Super Steel Series> launched
1974 Onomichi plant started production of tires
Ibaraki plant started operations
1977 Development of the world's largest OTR tire 40.00-57 60PR at that time (for 200-ton dump truck)
1978 Launching of HPT radial tire for passenger car <ADVAN HF>

Excellence by nature

The two oil crises of the 1970s caused major turning points in the economic structure.
Our company put its efforts into research and development and highly diversified business models that enabled us to cope with changed in society by emphasizing energy efficiency and eco-friendly technology, producing high-performance tires, and moving into the sports business.
In the late 1980s, we achieved our first plant in the United States, and began our overseas business in earnest.


The “Performance Mark” was introduced in 1983, reflecting Yokohama’s introduction of value-added, high-performance tires to the market and emphasizing its commitment to performance.


ISO9001 Certificate for tire category


D-PARC comprehensive tire test course was completed in 1986.


The first studless winter tire was introduced in 1983. Until then, studded tires dominated this segment.



The Yokohama A008P tire for Porsche was developed in 1988, and was standard equipment on 1991 models.

1981 The first <GRAND SLAM>, tire franchise shop opened in Tochigi prefecture
Release of tubeless radial tires for trucks and buses
1983 Yokohama Rubber supplied official tires for the first Macau Grand Prix
Launching of studless tire for passenger car <Snow Star 847 Studless>
Yokohama Rubber made a full-scale entry into the sporting goods business and launched golf products <PRGR Carbon Driver>, <PRGR Golf Ball 2 pieces>
1986 D-PARC (Daigo Proving-Ground and Research Center) comprehensive tire testing facility opened
1988 Yokohama Reifen GmbH established as a sales company in Germany
Tokyo Hamatite Co., Ltd. established
GTY Tire Co., Ltd. established jointly with Toyo Tire & Rubber Co., Ltd. and General Tire in the United States
1989 T*MARY (Takasu Motoring and Researching Yard) specialized winter test course opened
The Mohawk Rubber Company of the United States acquired
A008P obtained technical approval by Porsche
1991 R&D center, RADIC started operation at the Hiratsuka plant
1992 Yokohama Tire Corporation acquired the Mohawk Rubber Company and spun off its non-tire business into a separate company, SAS Rubber Company
1993 Specific action standards for environment protection clarified and Environmental Action Plan formulated
1994 PRGR Co., Ltd. established
1995 Yokohama Tire Division became the first Japanese tire manufacturer to be ISO9001 certificated
1996 Yokohama Aeroquip became a wholly owned subsidiary of Yokohama Rubber
Yokohama Aeroquip corporate name changed to Yokohama Hydex Company
Yokohama Rubber (Thailand) Co., Ltd. a company for producing windshield sealants and assembling hydraulic hoses, established in Thailand
1997 YH America, Inc., plant for windshield sealants built in Kentucky, USA
New plant for sealing materials at Ibaraki plant started production
Yokohama Tire Vietnam Company, a tire production and sales company, established in Vietnam
1998 Mishima plant obtained ISO14001 certification, and efforts were undertaken to obtain certification at all domestic plants by the end of 1999
Start of operations by Yokohama Tire Philippines, Inc