History of Semperit tyres

  • Author: OPONEO.CO.UK

Take a close look at the history of tyre pioneer from Wimpassing.

It was 1850 when a small town of Wimpassing in western Austria witnessed the opening of the first rubber goods factory on the European continent. At that time cars were still associated with the steam vehicle invented by Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot. In 1850 Levi Strauss sewed his first pair of now legendary jeans and in Poland, Austrian authorities started to build a brick citadel around the Kosciuszko Mound. Tyres, just like the cars, remained in the realm of distant plans and bold dreams. 

But in that year, the company named later as Semperit had already been on the market for 26 years. Its history dates back to 1824, when Johann Nepomuk Reithoffer, a graduate of the Sorbonne, started to manufacture waterproof clothing. His company systematically developed to debut on the Vienna Stock Exchange in 1890. Six years later he built a second rubber goods factory in the Austrian town of Traiskirchen. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the company launched production of the first passenger car tyres.

Advertisement for Semperit tyres.

Advertisement for Semperit tyres.

Goliath for the snow

Entering the increasingly competitive market of car tyres, the company needed a well-sounding name. The inventors referred to Latin. They used the term "semper it" which can be translated as: "always on the run", "always on the road". Since 1906 the company has been operating as 'Semperit'. In addition to car and bicycle tyres, the Austrian company tried to diversify its offer from the very begging. It manufactured many various products, including shoes, components for industry and latex gloves. In order to achieve better work organization of individual Semperit departments, the Semperit Group was established in 1912 to gather all sections of the company.

From the very beginning, tyres with Semperit brand were tested in harsh alpine conditions. When market demand and progress in the automotive industry forced the distinction between winter and summer tyres, in 1936 the Austrian brand introduced the first snow tyre. It was proudly named "Goliath".

Semperit provides tyres for various types of vehicles.

Semperit provides tyres for various types of vehicles.

Poland and 117 other countries worldwide

In 1956, Semperit began manufacturing tubeless tyres. At the same time, it also produced the famous bicycle tyres with white sidewalls used in Sears & Roebuck bikes. A new model of studded tyres ("M+S 181") was also an instant best-seller. In 1967, after several months of research, the offer of Semperit was extended by a radial tyre. In the sixties, the tyres of the Austrian brand were exported to 118 countries worldwide. In the interwar period, the company from Wimpassing operated dynamically in Poland. It had its branch – the Polish Rubber Plant "Semperit" - in Krakow.

The annual turnover of Semperit exceeds half a billion euro.

The annual turnover of Semperit exceeds half a billion euro.

Under the wings of "Continental"

The parent factory in Traiskirchen was thoroughly modernized in 1984 and the modernization also included production processes. As it turned out, it was only a foretaste of further changes. A few months later, Semperit Reifen AG, which was involved in tyre production, was separated from the entire Semperit AG group, and in 1985 it was acquired by Continental AG, a German company.

Semperit’s first manufactured product after coming under the wings of the giant from Hanover was the first directional tyre called "M+S-H, Direction Grip M728". A year later the range of directional tyres was supplemented by the winter model "Top-Grip SLG M729". This model quickly became a best-selling winter tyre offered by the company. The next model named "Direction-Grip M828" also achieved excellent test results and enjoyed a good reception by customers. In subsequent years, Semperit successively expanded its offer using the joint research potential of the original brand and its German owner.

Currently, Semperit factories and laboratories employ nearly seven thousand people. The annual turnover of the company exceeds half a billion Euros.


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