90 years of car tires from Nokia

90 years of car tires from Nokia



“Only the best factories can produce car tires” 

Just over 90 years ago, in February 1932, the Board of Directors of Suomen Gummitehdas Oy, or Finnish Rubber Factory, set aside funds to purchase tire manufacturing equipment for their factory in Nokia, Finland. Later that year, the first car tires were produced in Nokia. After 90 years, much has changed within the red brick factory walls, however, Nokian Tyres’ aim to produce high-quality tires to safeguard the journeys of drivers all around the globe has stayed the same.  

Once upon a factory

The protagonist of this story could be a German engineer named Adolf Fröhlich or possibly his Finnish counterpart Ossi Vahtera. 

Before car tire production, the Nokia factory produced bicycle tires. Fröhlich was an account representative from Germany who was working with some new bicycle tire presses in Nokia in the early 1930’s. As the town didn’t have a hotel at the time, Fröhlich stayed at the home of office manager Ossi Vahtera.  

The story goes that during one of his visits, the well-travelled German said to Vahtera: “Any factory can produce bicycle tires. Only the best factories can produce car tires.” Taking offence, Vahtera set out to prove that a Finnish manufacturing company could do anything the factories in Europe did – and beyond. And the rest is history. 

From one tire to millions

In the beginnig, the Nokia factory only produced one tire a day. However, at the end of the year 1933 the daily quota was 15 tires. In 2022, the yearly quota is calculated in millions.  

Ossi Vahtera’s passion to test new ideas and the vigor for innovation is alive in the Nokian Tyres’ way of working to this day. As the production processes developed, more and more people were needed to work in the tire manufacturing. Many spent their whole careers in the world of car tires, and they were the pioneers who developed Nokian Tyres to what it is today: the world’s northernmost tire manufacturer developing high-quality winter, summer and all-season tires known for their high quality, performance, and safety in all conditions.

Space for growth

The iconic red brick walls of the Nokia factory that saw the birth of the first tire in 1932 have remained very much the same to this day. However, the technology and machinery within the walls have been replaced to meet the highest standards of modern production.  Sustainability at its core, today 86% of all energy used at the Nokia factory is produced with renewable energy sources, the steam is generated in the nearby biomass power plant and the facility had a hundred percent rate of waste reutilization or recycling. 

Only time will tell how the Nokia factory will develop within the next 90 years. In 2022, three hectares of land near the factory as well as the adjacent industrial property were acquired by Nokian Tyres. This offers us flexibility and keeps the door open for future opportunities. With the same passion that Ossi Vahtera showed in the 1930’s, all is possible for future operations and growth for tire manufacturing in Nokia.

The story of winter innovation 

In 1934, we invented the world's first winter tire. Now, our innovation safeguards millions of drivers on winter roads.