Goodyear celebrates one hundred years 100 years ‘down under’
Just on a hundred years ago a couple of men, whose names are now lost to the passing of time, opened the doors to a small office at 231 Clarence Street, Sydney, from where they planned to service the rapidly expanding automotive industry with tyres. They worked hard and we’re rewarded with rapid expansion across the nation. Well, that’s the romantic version. In truth, they were probably a couple of company executives sent out from the USA by one Frank Seiberling, who a few years earlier had set up a tyre manufacturing named after the inventor of vulcanised rubber Charles Goodyear.
We’ll probably never know which story is correct, but what we do know is that either way, it was a pretty successful venture that quickly established the Goodyear name across Australia, thanks in no small measure to the fact that compared to other products, the tyres were easily detachable and required little maintenance, which made them very popular. Indeed, so popular that within a decade, Mr. W.G Kither, a manager at the Adelaide branch, was pushing the idea of a local manufacturing plant that opened in Sydney two years later in 1927 rapidly followed by major depots in NSW, Victoria and Queensland. Within a few years, the company had manufactured one million tyres and by 1951 that number had grown to 10 million. During the second world war, Goodyear’s local operations were manufacturing and servicing the tyre needs of aircraft, service trucks, jeeps, motorcycles and wide variety of armed services’ equipment and manufacturing bullet-seal fuel tanks. Unfortunately, following a number of corporate deck chair shuffles, manufacture in Australia ceased in 2008.
In 1914, the US parent company unveiled what it claimed to be the world’s first blimp named Wingfoot One, which, in fact, was not a blimp but rather a semi-rigid airship. The real helium-filled thing took to the skies in 1925 in the form of the Goodyear Blimp that has since attained iconic status in the US and eventually found its way to Australia to assist in the coverage of the 2000 Olympic games.
Other ‘innovations’ brought to Australia in recent years have included RunOnFlat technology, fuel saving technology in the form of the Assurance Fuel Max tyre and QuietTred technology, that contributes to the EfficientGrip performance tyre. Advanced technology is all well and good, but not much use without an efficient means of getting it all to market. And it is here that the company believes that it has been particularly fortunate in having a long standing, nationwide, family of company-owned, franchised and independent dealers that for 100 years has stocked and distributed Goodyear tyres.
All of which we suppose entitles the local company’s Thierry Villard, to get a wee bit hyperbolic: “A centenary is a remarkable achievement and testament to the strength of our business, team and customers. As industries and companies have come and gone over the decades, Goodyear Australia has achieved and sustained a reputation as an industry leader through continued innovation, adaptation to changing markets, as well as a continued commitment to understanding and delivering on what our customers value and need…… I look forward to the continuation of Goodyear in Australia for the next 100 years”