Emile Louis Constant Schiff became the owner of the Nederlandse Guttapercha Maatschappij in Delft, the forerunner of Apollo Vredestein, on 6 November 1908. In 1909, the company moved to Loosduinen and changed its name to NV Rubberfabriek Vredestein.
At the time, the company specialised in all kinds of rubber products, including shoe heels, tennis balls, floor covering, boots and indoor football balls. On 13 September 1934, most of the factory in Loosduinen went up in flames. Reconstruction started immediately, and the bicycle tyre factory in Doetinchem was established in the same year.
In 1946, the NV Nederlandsch-Amerikaansche Autobanden-fabriek Vredestein was founded in Enschede, with the American company B.F. Goodrich owning just over 20% of the shares. A year later, Mr Schiff laid the cornerstone of the plant in Enschede. The growth of the company accelerated in 1962, when it merged with N.V. Rubberfabrieken Hevea in Raalte. In 1971, the company became wholly owned by B.F. Goodrich and Vredestein’s products were soon finding their way to 125 different countries.
Under the influence of globalisation, the Vredestein brand increasingly focused on car, agricultural, industrial and two-wheeler tyres in the 1970s. The oil crisis prompted many mergers in the tyre industry during these years. In 1976, the Dutch state took over 49% of the shares in Vredestein, and two percent were obtained by the Stichting tot Voortzetting van Vredestein (Foundation for the Continuation of Vredestein). While the remaining 49% initially remained in the possession of B.F. Goodrich, they were later taken over by the Foundation for a symbolic sum.
In the early 1990s, the company was acquired from the State by three Dutch investors. A new strategic plan set up in 1995 defined in detail where Vredestein was to stand in ten years’ time in terms of product development, image, pricing and sales distribution.
Following these developments, a unique collaboration was established with the Italian designer Giorgetto Giugiaro in the late 1990s. Giugiaro, proclaimed car designer of the century by the global automotive press in 1999, is known for designs such as the Volkswagen Golf I, BMW M1, Maserati 3200 GT and Alfa Romeo Brera. For Vredestein, this partnership represented an altogether new step in the brand experience, with its high-quality tyres receiving a signature from an Italian master designer.
In 2009, Vredestein was acquired by India's Apollo Tyres Ltd, and the company name was changed to Apollo Vredestein BV. The bulk of production still takes place in Enschede, and major investments in recent years continue to expand the production capacity in the Netherlands.
Over six million summer, winter and four-season tyres are manufactured in Enschede every year, and a number of quality agriculture tyres are made there in addition to the production in India. Tyres for two-wheel vehicles and for industrial applications are produced by specialised companies in East Asia. Furthermore, thanks to the acquisition by Apollo Tyres Ltd, Vredestein’s access to the Asian and Middle Eastern markets has further improved.
Today, this division of Apollo Tyres Ltd. employs more than 1700 people and is very well represented in Europe, the US and Canada, with a total of 14 sales organisations in 18 countries.