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Lego: The World’s Largest Tyre Manufacturer

If someone was to ask the identity of the world's largest tyre manufacturer, the chances are Goodyear, Bridgestone or Michelin would spring to mind. Yet none of these would be correct - the answer may surprise you!

The leading tyre manufacturer makes 70% more tyres than its nearest rival and is one of the most iconic brands in the world. With annual sales of $2.1 billion, the company has been around for almost 90 years.

The surprising thing is that it isn't actually a vehicle manufacturer. In fact, the leading tyre-maker is the famous toy brand, Lego! According to the company's Instagram page, Lego makes an incredible 700 million tyres per year, beating its nearest rival, Bridgestone, hands down.

Lego

© Divina Epiphania / Shutterstock.com

 

Company history

The brand was launched in 1932, in Denmark, by a carpenter called Ole Kirk Christiansen, based on the idea of interlocking bricks. Initially, he started making simple toys after losing his job during the Great Depression.

A widower with four sons, he made his early toys from left-over bits of wood and didn't start using plastic until 1947. The interlocking Lego blocks were smaller versions of the traditional stackable wooden blocks of the era.

The early bricks were a standard size and were used to construct miniature houses, walls and other simple items. Then, bricks of different sizes were made, so that they became much more versatile in terms of what children could build.

 

First cars

Lego began making pre-moulded mini-cars in the 1950s, but in 1962, the company took the ground-breaking step of making its own sets of tyres for children to add to their toy cars. The tyres became big business over the years and Lego was soon manufacturing sets in different sizes for their whole range of toy vehicles.

Lego's Duplo product line was launched in 1969 and comprised a range of building blocks which were twice the height, width and depth of a standard Lego brick. These were aimed at young children. The brand produced its first mini-figures in 1978 and these have become a staple in the majority of sets today.

By 2011, Lego's annual tyre production had increased to 318 million and it overtook every other tyre manufacturer in terms of the volume produced. Today, that number has more than doubled, as the popularity of Lego vehicles goes from strength to strength. Tyres manufactured by Lego range from 0.57 inches to 4.21 inches in diameter.

 

Official world record

In 2012, Lego marked the 50th anniversary of its first wheel - and there was no better way to celebrate than by being officially awarded the Guinness World Record for the largest tyre manufacturer. The Lego factories have to produce tyres 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, to keep up with global demand.

Today, almost 50% of all Lego sets contain wheels. Prior to the invention of the toy wheels with their own tyres, the vehicles' wheels were simulated using building bricks, which wasn't a particularly practical idea. Now, there are all kinds of Lego vehicles with their own unique wheels, including safari jeeps and police cars.

The beauty of Lego is that it offers a universal system and even the older plastic bricks, dating from the 1950s, are compatible with the modern bricks - thus collectors can build up a huge array of Lego pieces over the years and they will still be able to interlock the old and new blocks together.

 

Award-winner

The simple, yet brilliant idea has won plenty of awards: the Lego block was revealed as one of Fortune Magazine's Products of the Century in 1999. In 2000, it was voted Toy of the Century by the British Association of Toy Retailers.

Lego bosses say they are thrilled but not surprised to be the world's largest tyre manufacturer. They said the launch of their own range of tiny rubber tyres was a case of "thinking outside the box", proving that creativity had no bounds.

Coruba offers a large range of commercial, industrial and residential rubber products, including standard and bespoke items. As a leading UK manufacturer, we provide rubber matting, gaskets and seals, extrusions, rubber sheeting and more. Give us a call on 01702 560194 for more information.



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