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The Truth About Toyo Tires

Fitment Industries Author | | April 26th, 2018 |

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    - Did I get too much sun?
    I feel like I'm just, like, a little pink.
    As somebody who has genetics to get tan, it just doesn't seem to be working out so much for me.

    What's going on, guys? It's Alex from Fitment Industries, and today we're bringing you a new series, a new episode, of what we're going to call Tire History, because you guys wanted to know everything there was to know about wheels, so we made a series for it. You guys wanted to know everything about suspension, so we made a series for it. And now, you guys are asking for company history on tires, so we made a series for it. So we thought we would start off with probably one you haven't been expecting, one that you probably can't even tell, Toyo Tires. Toyo Tires began in August of 1945, actually between a merger between two companies. Those two companies would be Hirano Rubber Manufacturing and Toyo Industrial. Hirano Rubber was founded in 1890. No, I did not make that up, 1890. So what was happening in 1890? Vincent Van Gogh was alive-ish in 1890. Pretty much, 1890 was actually pretty, pretty terrible in terms of history, so we're not gonna really dive into that too much, because it's gonna start all that controversy in the comments, we're just not gonna do that. But, Hirano has been known in the industrial community for the rubber manufacturing plants that they have for a long time. And, over the course of the decades that had gone through the 18 and 1900s, they really specialize in just making rubber hoses and components for pretty much anything. And it wasn't until World War II came around. Hirano Rubber was really starting to get in pressure with regards to where they were producing supplies and other sort of rubber compounds for pretty much any sort of war effort. So back in 1943, Hirano was looking for a company that they could partner with that would match them on a supply that the actual government was looking to get from the rubber manufacturing companies, and ergo, Toyo Industrial was essentially brought into the mix. Now, Toyo, on the other hand, has been involved in a lot of different things, especially since they have been in the rubber industry for a few years less than Hirano, but they definitely had history in the day.

    Because in 1938, Toyo Rubber was born, and that was born by a man named Toyo Boseki. Toyo Tires, Toyo Boseki, Boseki. And in 1938, Toyo really just came on board as one of those companies that had everything going for them. A lot of their growth was through acquisitions and mergers, not by natural, organic growth. Essentially, Toyo was brought into the game, and through just some random luck and some good business deals, they grew huge in just a few short years. It wasn't until 1943 came along until they started to realize that Toyo was going to essentially become the sole proprietor use of all rubber manufacturing tires for Japan; they just had all the mergers and all the acquisitions back in the time that it was just the company to go to. And during the war efforts, that was the company. They were the ones that were involved and responsible for a lot of the rubber manufacturing processes that Japan used during that time. You see, Hirano needed a company that could match the supply that it could give, and Toyo needed a company that could actually meet the amount of demand they were getting from the government and from neighboring countries. And so from there, the Toyo merger began. The merger wasn't necessarily done by a handshake and a hug. It was something that was just bound to happen, because what ended up occurring, well, if you didn't know in 1943, there were a few bombs dropped, essentially all over the place, and Hirano plants and Toyo plants were no exception to the rules. These things got bombarded during the war times, and efforts to essentially stall marketing, stall production, and stall supply, especially considering the time and era. Now in World War II, there was a lot of things happening, and there was a lot of things that essentially stalled progression, especially in the industrial community. And this was one of those exceptions.

    What ended up happening is both industries had the manufacturing plants destroyed or almost destroyed, with nearly all of their supply gone over 1943 to 1944, and they just realized that they couldn't do business without each other. And as a result, Toyo Industries, Toyo Rubber, Toyo Tires, was born. From there, Toyo truly began to grow through organic growth on top of the mergers and acquisitions that they had throughout the decades, especially considering when they went public through stockbrokers and essentially started taking over more market share when they expanded their overall customer base. Now we know them as Toyo Tires, but Toyo is involved in a lot of different things. But, pretty much all you need to know is Toyo Tires came into the USA in 1966 of July. You can go, phone a friend, 50-50 that. You can ask 'em as a quiz question on a Friday night when you're getting drunk, and I bet you they won't be able to tell you, but from there, Toyo truly began to grow, and on top of the fact that they were making production, they had a very large focus in R&D. Especially consider that's one of their main portfolio projects in their overall company is R&D, automotive parts, and of course, their tire company. But let's talk about what everybody actually knows Toyo for, their tires. Toyo owns Toyo tires. That's pretty much a foundational point of view. If you didn't know that, well, we're gonna have to talk about things that you do and don't know. Toyo Tires is owned by Toyo. Nitto is owned by Toyo. Silverstone are also owned by Toyo.

    So Toyo Tires is essentially an extremely large market share, and although we think that they do all things car, Toyo actually has a lot more focus on their truck wheels, especially their Open Country and tires of that nature. Toyo, on top of that, has Nitto. Now Nitto is like my personal favorite tires, because Nitto makes a gorgeous looking tire. Their NT series, the NT05s, the NT01s, the RRs, all of that stuff are like, they're just so nice to look at. And on top of that, they do a really good job at what they're supposed to do. But that's what Nitto was made for. Nitto was actually essentially created and acquired by Toyo to be the dress-up, market tire for tuner fans. So, although I feel a little bit played, because I feel like one of those kids that buys the cool stuff because everybody else buys the cool stuff, I mean, Nitto does a pretty good job at looking like a bad-ass tire. And although we think Nitto is a huge brand here in North America, it really doesn't extend past the North American market. Nitto especially is just something that they use as another section of their overall tire industry, but Toyo is still a prominent car tire, as well. The Toyo Proxe's probably one of the best-considered series in terms of tires. On top of the Proxes, I think really Nitto is my favorite, even though they really don't last that long and the traction is extremely harsh, and the road noise. But it's besides the point. The point is, is that even though Toyo Tires is this huge thing that we know and remember, there's two more divisions that Toyo Tires specializes in. Toyo has a division that specializes in all things rubber.
    (Snorts) Division makes up about 20% of their overall business and includes things like train absorbent springs. They invest in things like rubber and CV axles, and motor mounts, and all this random stuff that you can make rubber out of. Really what they do is any sort of commercial product that they can get their hands on when it comes to rubber automotive manufacturing parts, they try to do, because from a commercial standpoint, if you can conserve a partnership through the use of multiple products, between buying and selling, especially with car manufacturers, it usually results in bigger partnerships, bigger contracts, and longer deals.

    So if you can supply tires on top of the fact that you can supply CV axles, motor mounts, bushings, and everything in between, you're pretty much set up for success. And that's what Toyo tries to do. And on top of that, they try to stay current by essentially spending the rest of their money and their Saturdays and Sundays on their R&D department. They have an exclusive R&D facility that's dedicated to nothing more than just being nerds in white lab coats that try to make everything the best it possibly can. But on top of that, really Toyo is just their tires, and that's really all I care about, and I'm sure that's what most of you care about. So usually when people bring up tire brands, there's really not a whole lot of competitive spirit, not like XXR versus work, or something of that nature, but you know what I mean? Toyo tires is just a good brand, and they do very well at what they do. On top of that, they're involved in almost every single motor sport you can possibly imagine, whether that's baja, drifting, autocross, HPD, everything in between that you could possibly put tires on in terms of an event, Toyo is involved in. Toyo is a brand that pretty much carries every sort of possible product that you could want, as long as you have the cash. Toyo is not one of those more affordable brands, especially when it comes to tires. In fact, they're Proxes can get a little pricey, especially when you start getting wide with your wheels. Nitto is absolutely no exception, either. If you wanna go out and grab an NTO5R or something like that, you're going to be paying a pretty penny. But what you're getting is a damn good tire. Toyo specializes in making tires for specific application purposes. They're not really super strong in terms of the all-season capabilities, especially within their Toyo brand. The Nitto does have some all-seasons that I like, but in terms of overall growth, really they're sticking to the stuff that they k