Sometimes it's a mystery about who makes tires for a company and where. We'll answer the question about who makes tires for BFGoodrich.
Tire quality is important. It's the only part of your vehicle that touches the road. Knowing where your tires come from is an interesting fact to some and crucial to others.
The larger umbrella company, Michelin, takes today's version of BFGoodrich tires. BFGoodrich was sold to Michelin in 1988. BFGoodrich still exists as a name and company though, and they make some good tires for passenger vehicles.
We'll explore a bit of the history behind BFGoodrich as well as where their tires are currently made. Like many automotive industries, their businesses have many attempts at consolidation for the purpose of technology and competition.
We know the history of automotive and have great sources for the purpose of explaining how BFGoodrich came to be, and where it is going.
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Where are BFGoodrich tires made?
BFGoodrich tires are made in the United States! They have a huge factory outside of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, though they also manufacture some tires in China and Canada. While it is possible for this to change, BFGoodrich currently makes most of their all terrain, mud terrain, and advantage tires in the United States, as well as their commercial tires.
The tire company has been making tires in Alabama for more than 75 years. They opened the factory as part of an effort to produce raw materials and tires for the war effort – through the first tire wasn't produced until after the Second World War was over in 1946. BFGoodrich has now made more than half a billion tires in their rather large, 1.6 million square foot manufacturing facility. The facility actually consists of two factories, one for the raw materials and the other for making the first itself.
Not all BFGoodrich tires are made in the US. It's also unclear through search where the rest of BFGoodrich tires are made – though they seem quite proud of their Alabama plant.
Who owns BFGoodrich?
While BFGoodrich started in 1870 under their own company, it took nearly a century of private ownership to sell to the larger Michelin brand from France. Prior to selling, Benjamin Franklin Goodrich had established BFGoodrich with their first tire factory in Akron, Ohio. Both Benjamin and his son, Charles, had a focus on performance tires and opened the first research center dedicated to tires.
Michelin now owns many brands, including non-tire, with SASCAR, Camso, and Bookatable. You might have also heard of Michelin star restaurants – yep, that's Michelin too. The program was started as a marketing attempt to get people to travel to different restaurants and seek out the world's best cuisines and is now a sought-after publicity event for restaurants across the world.
What is the difference between BFGoodrich and Michelin?
While the companies do crossover a bit in the area of sports tires, BFGoodrich is better known for producing better off-road and performance tires. Michelin is quite well known for their all-season performance, but not as much for putting tires on trucks. We would say that Michelin is better known for comfort – which comes at a slightly higher price while BFGoodrich is more likely to be on your Jeep or 4x4 truck.
Are BFGoodrich and Goodyear similar?
BFGoodrich and Goodyear were – and still are competitive, in part because some customers mix up their names. When Goodyear began their blimp campaigns (you probably remember the blimps from seeing them on Super Bowl and other sports telecasts), BFGoodrich differentiated themselves by stating they aren't the blimps – they are the other guys.
Does BFGoodrich still make their own tires?
Technically, no. Since they are owned by Michelin, you are buying Michelin-made tires though the original goals of BFGoodrich performance tires are still in place. Instead, BFGoodrich now focuses on space, chemicals, and making equipment for airplanes. While BFGoodrich was well known for making the performance tires that connect your vehicle to the road, they are now better known for making the landing gear that helps plans touch down.
Michelin and BFGoodrich are now made in the same plants – and you'll see from cruising tires like TireRack, that their warranties are often extremely similar if not the same.
One wouldn't know from looking at the tire though – because BFGoodrich and Michelin do have different goals in most areas of the tire market.
Are company buyouts common?
Very. For example, in the early years of the automotive industry and the tire industry, there were many companies trying to make a name for themselves. You've probably heard of, but not often seen, an Edsel, a Studebaker, or an Oldsmobile. Some companies like Edsel and Studebaker went out of business long ago and were either sold to competitors or just switched to a different industry. Oldsmobile left the industry much more recently – so recently this writer almost bought a used one less than 20 years ago.
Michelin is stationed in France. Are any tires made in France?
Nope, none of the tires made by Michelin are in France. Among the only tires actually made in Europe are Pirelli, which are not under the Michelin or BFGoodrich umbrella.
Much like cars, you'll also want to know that while some of these companies manufacture tires in the United States, the raw materials probably come from somewhere else, and the entire product isn't necessarily made in the United States. This is especially true of complicated products like vehicles and tires, where parts can be assembled across the globe and shipped to another facility for assembly.
Are Chinese tires of different quality?
They can be – though American tires have their own issues. BFGoodrich does make some tires in China, though most come from their Alabama manufacturing facility. There are also tire manufacturers in Japan and China that make good quality tires, like Yokohama and many others. The reason why most people ask this question is often more a focus on where their dollars go, and whose workers they support when they buy a tire, versus the actual quality. We can also note that some less expensive tire brands from Asia are often associated with a lower price and good performance in dry conditions while your Michelin and BFGoodrich brands carry higher performance in all conditions at a higher price.
About The Author
I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.Read More About Charles Redding