World War II had just ended and GIs were returning home to resume their lives and began their futures. Some of those returning to the Tuscaloosa area in 1946 applied for and got good manufacturing jobs at BFGoodrich Tires, which had been built to support the war effort.
The first tire was made Oct. 23, 1946. The University of Alabama Crimson Tide was 4-1 at that point and would go on to a 7-4 record.
Today, nearly one-half of a billion tires later, Business Council of Alabama member BF Goodrich Tires celebrates 70 years of making more than 488 million tires.
To celebrate this milestone, BFGoodrich has established a consumer promotion in West Alabama: Throughout October, a purchase of a full set of four BFGoodrich Tires through independent local dealers within 50 miles of the Tuscaloosa site will qualify the buyer for a $50 Mastercard gift card, BF Goodrich said.
The BF Goodrich Tire plant of more than 1.6 million square feet has supported many “firsts:”
The first tubeless tire in the United States; the first American-made radial tire, the Lifesaver Radial T/A, which revolutionized muscle car performance tires as first low aspect-ratio tire and is the first American-made passenger car tire certified for racing; the first radial all-terrain tire built in the United States, the BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A; America¹s first V-rated tire, the BFGoodrich Comp T/A; the first light-truck radial mud tire, the BFGoodrich Mud Terrain T/A; the first tires for NASA¹s space shuttle; the first purpose-built off-road radial desert race tire, the BFGoodrich Baja T/A; and the first American-made tire selected as original equipment on a Porsche, the BFGoodrich Comp T/A.
“Our BFGoodrich facility in Tuscaloosa has been on the leading edge of tire innovation and performance for decades,” said Scott Clark, chief operating officer for Michelin North America, which owns BFGoodrich Tires. “We¹re proud to celebrate the dedication of the employees in Tuscaloosa who are responsible for producing some of the most iconic tires ever made for racing, recreation and passenger vehicles.”
The Tuscaloosa plant currently employs about 1,400 people and operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week manufacturing tires and producing semi-finished materials, such as uncured rubber and associated materials needed for tire construction.
The importance of the work at the Tuscaloosa manufacturing site also is illustrated by its cumulative impact on the American motorist. More than 488 million BFGoodrich-brand tires have been built in Tuscaloosa, enough to equip more than 122 million vehicles over the last 70 years.
From its start and through the Michelin acquisition of BFGoodrich Tires in 1990, the plant has continued to produce high quality passenger car, light truck, and motorsports racing tires.
The Tuscaloosa site also is distinguished by its production of competition tires as well, including the first street-legal drag-racing tire, the first street radial tire to compete at the storied 24 Hours of LeMans, the first passenger-car tire to defeat pure race tires, and a total of 86 overall wins in the SCORE Baja desert racing series.
The BF Goodrich plant plays an integral role in the Tuscaloosa community, having donated more than $175,000 to charitable area causes while also supporting many local school programs.
It was one of the first businesses to become an Adopt-A-School partner in Tuscaloosa and it continues its commitment to workforce development through sponsorship and involvement in programs such as the recently held West Alabama Worlds of Work (WOW) Career Expo.
The plant¹s estimated economic impact to West Alabama was more than $145 million in 2015. And recently Michelin North America announced a 67,000 square foot expansion of the warehouse department at the Tuscaloosa plant.
BF Goodrich is also on Facebook, and Twitter at @BFGoodrichTires.