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When a vehicle enthusiast is shopping for the right tire, they might wonder who makes the tire. Many performance enthusiasts choose Nitto – but who makes them?

Tire companies are capable of making tires just about anywhere – and in some cases, one company owns another. So the question remains, where, how, and by who were your Nitto tires made?

The larger tire company, Toyo, owns Nitto. While the two are often seen as competitive brands, they are owned by the same company with Nitto focusing more on performance tires. Nitto tires are made in Japan, Malaysia, and the United States depending on which tire you buy.

We'll walk through a bit of history regarding Nitto to see how they went from an independent manufacturer to one owned by another company – though the process is very familiar to the automotive and tire industries. We'll also explain the differences between Toyo and Nitto in regards to performance.

We've covered automotive history for a while and know a thing or two about tires. Historical resources are also fairly easy to find on the Internet for companies buying one another.

Table of Contents

Nitto and Toyo history

Nitto began producing tires in Japan around 1949. By 1966, Nitto started to sell tires in the United States, primarily for trucks and passenger cars. Through these times, Nitto experienced lots of financial difficulty and eventually sold to Toyota tires in 1979. This helped because Toyo had a stronger presence in the United States and could help financially by pushing a new market. By the mid 1990s, Nitto became better known as a tire for high performance vehicles in Japan.

Toyo started in 1945, shortly after atomic bombs were dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki – and were located less than 500 miles a way. They still came out quickly by building a manufacturing facility in less than a year.

Why did Toyo buy Nitto?

Companies buying one another – especially in the automotive and tire industry, is quite common. In our opinion, Nitto needed Toyo because of its financial backing and standing, and because tire sales were poor in Japan. Toyota added Nitto because they could develop the market for higher performance tires without having to do much research and development themselves.

Where are Nitto and Toyo tires made?

Like many tire manufacturers, they aren't limited to one location. After all, transporting tires to different continents is expensive. Nitto tires are made in America, Japan, China, and Malaysia. These tire are also distributed worldwide. More recently, Toyo expanded their American manufacturing to include a site in Bartow County, Georgia, where they intend to serve the southeastern part of the United States with tires.

And yes, many Nitto and Toyo tires are made in the same manufacturing facilities, which is another advantage of consolidating companies. Manufacturing facilities are not cheap to build and maintain with qualified workers.

What are key differences between Toyo and Nitto?

In the tire market, Toyo is one of the better options for an all terrain or a mud tire. Nitto also makes a commendable tire with their fairly popular Ridge Grappler. Toyota also offers a few winter tire options for drivers who frequently travel through extreme colda nd snow. Nitto does not offer many snow tires. Nitt's tagline is “Fueled by Performance” which is a good way of declaring that they primarily build tires designed for higher performance cars and have become well known for that. A couple of well known high performance tire options include the NT555RII and the NT01 – which are also available in a range of sizes to fit many possible race cars and trucks.

Nitto also does tend to offer a better warranty on their tires at around 60,000 miles while Toyo is below the industry average at 40,000 to 50,000 miles.

What are more recent developments for Nitto and Toyo?

A lot can happen over the course of 70 years! In the last decade, Nitto and Toyota have been trying to grow into China. China is identified as an area of growth for the number of vehicles on the road in need of performance, off-road, and passenger tires. They've found a partner as well with YHI capable of carrying their tires in retail locations.

Are tires made outside the USA worse?

Not necessarily. China is known for making quality tires – we just recommend doing your research before buying tires from an unknown brand – which Toyo and Nitto certainly are not.

In truth, most tire buyers who want a tire made in the United States do so because they both believe the quality is lower, and they reasonably want to keep their hard earned dollars in the United States to support local workers. We completely understand and agree that buying “local” regardless of which state you are from is important.

You might learn one thing from exploring tire rating sites though: Some of the tires made in China that aren't made exclusively as snow or all terrain tires tend to come at a lower cost. This isn't just because of prices in China. Many of them are also not especially great in wet or snowy conditions compared to their counterparts, which are manufactured more as all-season tires. We suggest just checking rates to see how well tires do across the board – though if you plan to buy Nitto tires, chances are you aren't seeking a snow tire anyway!

Would you choose Toyo or Nitto?

Depends entirely on the usage. To us, the “where” or “who” of the tire doesn't matter a lot. We are more concerned about how the tire drives in the conditions we live. In this writer's case, high performance isn't all that necessary because we live in the upper midwest and don't own a particularly powerful vehicle that could take advantage of the sticky tires Nitto offers. We would be more likely to choose Toyo because their tires are more for everyday driving.

The tires are designed for two different purposes but do well at what they are engineered for.

Which one is cheaper?

Toyo tends to be a little cheaper in part because of a lesser warranty – and because off-road tires tend to cost less than higher performance tires. In this case, price is subjective because the two tires don't exactly do the same thing.

Who Makes Nitto Tires?

About The Author

Charles Redding

Charles Redding

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.

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