Cooper Tires: The Story Behind Their American-made Success


Throughout its long history, Cooper Tires has earned a reputation for producing reliable and high-quality tires. The company's commitment to innovation and customer satisfaction has helped it thrive in the competitive tire industry. By combining expertise with strategic acquisitions and global expansion, Cooper Tires has evolved into a prominent player in the international tire market.

At that time, Cooper Tires' market presence was notable, especially in North America, where it had a solid reputation for producing reliable and high-quality tires. The company's international expansion had also allowed it to establish a presence in various markets worldwide. Therefore, let’s take a quick look at the company’s success story:

Founding and Early Years (1914-1920s):

Cooper Tire & Rubber Company was founded in Akron, Ohio, in 1914 by two brothers-in-law, John F. Schaefer and Claude E. Hart. At the time of its founding, the company operated under the name "M and M Manufacturing Company" and focused on producing tire patches, cement, and repair kits. The company was incorporated on March 31, 1914.

In the early years, the company primarily supplied repair materials for the booming automobile industry. However, as the automotive industry rapidly grew, Schaefer and Hart recognized the increasing demand for tires. In response, they made a strategic decision to shift their focus to tire manufacturing.

In 1915, just a year after its founding, Cooper Tire moved its operations to Findlay, Ohio. The relocation to Findlay provided several advantages, including access to raw materials, a central location for distribution, and proximity to the growing automotive market.

With the move to Findlay, Cooper Tire expanded its manufacturing capabilities and started producing tires in addition to its previous product offerings. The company's early tires gained a reputation for quality and durability, which contributed to its early success and steady growth.

In 1926, Cooper Tires achieved a significant milestone with the introduction of the "Cooper Master" tire. This tire became a flagship product for the company and was well-received in the market for its performance and longevity. The success of the Cooper Master tire solidified the company's position as a reputable tire manufacturer.

The company faced its fair share of challenges during its early years, including the economic hardships of World War I and competition from more established tire manufacturers. However, Schaefer and Hart's perseverance and dedication to quality allowed Cooper Tires to endure and grow steadily.

The early years laid the foundation for Cooper Tires' future growth and expansion. The decision to focus on tire manufacturing, the move to Findlay, and the success of the Cooper Master tire set the stage for the company to become a significant player in the tire industry in the years to come.

Cooper Tires Logo

The Cooper Master Tire (1926):

In 1926, Cooper Tires achieved a significant milestone with the introduction of the "Cooper Master" tire. This tire quickly gained recognition for its quality and performance, helping to establish Cooper as a reputable tire manufacturer. The company's success allowed it to invest in new technologies and expand its product line.

The Cooper Master Tire was a product of tire design innovation. Cooper Tires invested in research and development to create a tire that would stand out in terms of performance and durability. The tire was designed to meet the demands of the rapidly growing automotive market, catering to the needs of both passenger cars and commercial vehicles.

The Cooper Master Tire featured an improved tread design that provided better traction and handling on various road surfaces. The tread pattern was optimized for enhanced grip, which was particularly important for ensuring safe driving in different weather conditions.

One of the key selling points of the Cooper Master Tire was its longevity and durability. The tire's construction and materials were engineered to withstand wear and tear, contributing to a longer lifespan compared to many of its contemporary tires.

The Cooper Master Tire quickly gained popularity among consumers, receiving positive reviews for its performance and longevity. Its reputation for quality and reliability helped establish Cooper Tires as a brand known for producing dependable products.

The success of the Cooper Master Tire played a crucial role in advancing Cooper Tires' position in the tire industry. The positive reception of the tire contributed to increased brand recognition and customer trust, providing a strong foundation for the company's continued growth.

The Cooper Master Tire became a significant product in the company's history and has become part of Cooper Tires' legacy. It served as a symbol of the company's commitment to tire manufacturing excellence and set the stage for further innovations in tire technology.

Expansion and Product Diversification (1930s-1940s):

During the 1930s and 1940s, Cooper Tire & Rubber Company experienced significant expansion and embarked on a journey of product diversification. This period was marked by the company's efforts to cater to the increasing demand from the growing automotive industry and adapt to the changing needs of consumers. 

In response to the rising popularity of passenger cars, Cooper Tires diversified its product offerings by introducing a range of passenger car tires. These tires were designed to provide comfort, safety, and good handling characteristics for everyday driving.

Cooper also recognized the demand for tires suitable for commercial vehicles, including trucks and buses. They developed specialized tires that could withstand heavy loads, extended use, and the rigors of commercial transportation.

Cooper Tires expanded into the agricultural sector by developing tires for tractors and other farming equipment. These tires were designed to provide traction and durability, essential for farm work in various terrains and weather conditions.

During World War II, Cooper Tires secured contracts with the military to supply tires for military vehicles and aircraft. This further expanded the company's production capacity and provided an opportunity to contribute to the war effort.

As part of its product diversification efforts, Cooper Tires invested in research and development to improve tire technology. The company focused on developing new tire compounds, tread patterns, and construction techniques to enhance tire performance, durability, and safety.

The diversification of Cooper Tires' product lineup during this period contributed to increased brand recognition and customer trust. The company's commitment to producing reliable and high-quality tires solidified its position in the tire industry.

With its expanded product range and increased manufacturing capabilities, Cooper Tires continued to experience growth during the 1930s and 1940s. The company's ability to adapt to market demands and offer a diverse range of tires helped it thrive in a competitive industry.

Cooper Tires' focus on producing dependable tires during this period helped the company build strong relationships with consumers and automotive manufacturers. Positive word-of-mouth and satisfied customers contributed to the company's success.

Name Change and Post-War Growth (1940s-1950s):

In 1946, Cooper Tire & Rubber Company officially changed its name from "Cooper Corporation" to "Cooper Tire & Rubber Company." This change reflected the company's decision to concentrate on tire manufacturing as its primary business focus.

After World War II, the automotive industry experienced a period of growth and recovery. As the demand for automobiles and tires increased, Cooper Tires was well-positioned to take advantage of this trend due to its expanded product offerings and manufacturing capabilities.

During the post-war period, Cooper Tires continued to invest in expanding its production capacity to meet the rising demand for tires. The company improved and modernized its manufacturing processes to streamline production and enhance efficiency.

Cooper Tires continued to focus on tire technology advancements during the post-war period. The company invested in research and development to develop innovative tire designs, materials, and construction techniques that improved tire performance, safety, and durability.

With its increased production capacity and diverse product range, Cooper Tires expanded its market reach beyond its home base in the United States. The company strengthened its presence in both domestic and international markets, capitalizing on opportunities for growth.

Throughout this period, Cooper Tires emphasized the importance of producing high-quality tires. The company's commitment to quality control and continuous improvement helped solidify its reputation as a reliable tire manufacturer.

Cooper Tires worked on establishing an effective distribution network to ensure its products reached customers efficiently. This network included dealerships, distributors, and tire retailers across various regions.

Cooper Tires' commitment to its employees and the communities it operated in became evident during this time. The company supported local initiatives and contributed to social welfare programs, fostering positive relationships with its workforce and surrounding communities.

As part of its post-war growth strategy, Cooper Tires introduced several innovative tire models with advanced features. These products catered to the evolving needs of consumers and vehicle manufacturers, further solidifying the company's position in the market.

Old Cooper Tires Logo

International Expansion (1960s-1970s):

During the 1960s and 1970s, Cooper Tire & Rubber Company embarked on an ambitious international expansion strategy. This period was marked by the company's efforts to establish a global presence and cater to the growing demand for tires in various markets around the world. 

One of the key elements of Cooper Tires' international expansion was the establishment of manufacturing facilities outside of the United States. The company set up production plants in different countries to serve local markets efficiently and reduce shipping costs.

Cooper Tires made significant inroads into the European market during this period. In 1960, the company established a manufacturing facility in Melksham, England, marking its entry into the European tire market. This move allowed Cooper to cater to the demands of European customers and compete with established tire manufacturers in the region.

In addition to Europe, Cooper Tires expanded its manufacturing footprint to Mexico. The company established a plant in El Salto, Jalisco, in 1961. The Mexican facility allowed Cooper to meet the tire demand in the rapidly growing Latin American market.

Recognizing the potential of the Asia-Pacific region, Cooper Tires set up a manufacturing facility in Australia in 1965. This move enabled the company to serve the Australian market and extend its reach to other countries in the region.

In addition to building its own manufacturing facilities, Cooper Tires also formed partnerships and collaborations with local tire manufacturers in certain countries. These partnerships provided Cooper with additional distribution channels and market insights.

During its international expansion, Cooper Tires focused on tailoring its products to meet the specific needs and preferences of local markets. This strategy allowed the company to offer tires suitable for different climates, road conditions, and vehicle types prevalent in various regions.

The international expansion strategy significantly bolstered Cooper Tires' global market presence. With manufacturing facilities and distribution networks established in multiple countries, the company became a more formidable player on the international stage.

As Cooper Tires expanded into new markets, the company's brand recognition and reputation as a reliable tire manufacturer grew. The company's commitment to producing quality tires and its ability to cater to diverse market requirements contributed to its success in gaining consumer trust globally.

Throughout its international expansion, Cooper Tires continued to invest in research and development to introduce innovative tire technologies. These advancements helped the company remain competitive in the global tire market.

Acquisitions and Technological Advancements (1980s-1990s):

During the 1980s and 1990s, Cooper Tire & Rubber Company engaged in strategic acquisitions and invested in technological advancements to strengthen its position in the tire industry. This period marked a time of growth, innovation, and expansion of the company's product portfolio. 

In 1987, Cooper Tires made a significant move by acquiring Standard Products Company, a leading manufacturer of automotive components and systems. The acquisition provided Cooper with access to advanced tire technology, additional manufacturing capabilities, and an expanded product portfolio.

Through the acquisition of Standard Products Company, Cooper Tires diversified its product offerings beyond tires. The company expanded into manufacturing various automotive components, including sealing systems, vibration control products, and fluid transfer systems. This move allowed Cooper to become a more comprehensive supplier to the automotive industry.

During the 1980s and 1990s, Cooper Tires continued to invest in research and development to introduce technological innovations in tire manufacturing. The company explored new tire materials, tread designs, and construction methods to enhance tire performance, safety, and efficiency.

Cooper Tires ventured into the high-performance tire market, introducing tires designed for sports cars and performance-oriented vehicles. These tires featured advanced rubber compounds and tread patterns optimized for superior handling and grip at high speeds.

Cooper Tires worked on developing run-flat tire technology during this period. Run-flat tires allow vehicles to continue driving for a limited distance even after experiencing a puncture or loss of air pressure. This technology enhances safety and convenience for drivers, especially in emergencies.

In 1997, Cooper Tires made another significant acquisition by purchasing Avon Rubber plc, a British tire manufacturer. This acquisition expanded Cooper's international reach and product portfolio, further solidifying its position in the European market.


Cooper Tires continued its international expansion efforts during the 2000s. The company established new manufacturing facilities and distribution networks in various regions to cater to the increasing global demand for tires.

Cooper Tires placed a particular emphasis on the Asian market during this decade. The company saw significant opportunities in countries like China and India due to their rapidly growing automotive industries. Cooper Tires invested in expanding its presence in these markets to tap into their immense potential.

Like many other companies in the automotive industry, Cooper Tires placed an increased focus on sustainability and environmentally friendly practices. The company worked on developing eco-friendly tire technologies and manufacturing processes to reduce its carbon footprint.

In 2006, Cooper Tires acquired a majority stake in Cooper Chengshan (Shandong) Tire Company Ltd., which was a joint venture with a Chinese tire manufacturer. This move allowed Cooper to strengthen its presence in the Chinese market and gain better access to the fast-growing Asian tire market.

Cooper Tires continued to diversify its product portfolio in the 2000s. The company introduced new tire models catering to various vehicle types, including passenger cars, SUVs, trucks, and commercial vehicles. The expansion of its product line allowed Cooper Tires to serve a broader customer base and cater to specific market needs.

Cooper Tires continued its focus on tire technology advancements during the 2000s. The company invested in research and development to introduce innovations that improved tire performance, fuel efficiency, and safety. This included advancements in tire compounds, tread designs, and construction methods.

Cooper Tires received several awards and recognitions during the 2000s for its product quality, customer satisfaction, and commitment to sustainability. These accolades further enhanced the company's reputation in the tire industry.

Throughout the 2000s, Cooper Tires experienced solid financial performance. The company's strategic initiatives and focus on quality allowed it to navigate economic fluctuations and maintain steady growth.

Goodyear Acquisition (2021):

In early 2021, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company announced its intention to acquire Cooper Tire & Rubber Company. The acquisition was seen as a strategic move to combine the strengths of both companies, expand their market reach, and create one of the largest tire manufacturers globally. The deal was valued at approximately $2.5 billion and marked a new chapter in Cooper Tires' history as a subsidiary of Goodyear.