Goodyear NZ celebrates turning 100

Article Source: Tyre Torque Issue 08 November 2017

With one of the highest rates of motor vehicle ownership in the world, New Zealand has a long standing passion for and reliance on road transport.

Helping Kiwi drivers get from A to B for more than a century – whether that be from Auckland to Bluff or from the asphalt to the bush – Goodyear tyres have played a lead role in one of this country’s defining stories of the past century.

The first two cars in New Zealand were imported into Wellington in 1898 – the same year that Frank Seiberling founded the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in Akron, Ohio.

Just under 20 years later, in February 1917, the Goodyear Tyre and Rubber Company of New Zealand set up its head office on Manners Street in the heart of the country’s capital – then a nascent hub of the New Zealand auto industry. Car ownership was becoming more egalitarian, with Chevrolet and Ford dominating the country’s roads on tyres no wider than four inches.

An innovator from the outset, Goodyear pioneered an All Weather Tread diamond pattern tyre that reached New Zealand shores in 1920. It was a ground-breaking product that helped establish a reputation for cutting-edge engineering that has since become the company’s hallmark.

Today Goodyear remains at the forefront of tyre technology, enabling safer, more efficient and more comfortable driving experiences.

“Currently in New Zealand we have nearly 400 different Goodyear tyres available to suit pretty much every budget, application and performance criteria you could imagine,” said Bill Prebble, Head of Technical, Product and Aviation for Goodyear Dunlop Tyres New Zealand. “From passenger cars and off-road vehicles to commercial and aviation, we know what it takes to get people moving.”

Prebble has worked with Goodyear in New Zealand for more than 40 years, not long after the parent company left tracks on the moon as part of the 1971 Apollo 15 lunar mission, and revolutionised its manufacturing model to focus on radial tyre production in 1974.

“I’ve certainly experienced a number of chapters in the history of the company,” said Prebble. “It has been both exciting and challenging and it continues to be a privilege to be a part of.”