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85 years of tire production in Dębica. From Stomil to the largest Goodyear tire factory in Europe

COMPANIES85 years of tire production in Dębica. From Stomil to the largest Goodyear tire factory in Europe

The Dębica tire factory is celebrating its 85th anniversary in April this year, boasting a rich history—from its establishment in 1939 as the Stomil Rubber Tire Factory to its modern incarnation developed over the past 29 years with the support of its strategic investor, the American company Goodyear. The Dębica plant, one of the largest employers in the Subcarpathian region, produces innovative tires under various brands in Goodyear’s portfolio for the Polish and European markets, including tires for original equipment for major car manufacturers. The Polish factory is Goodyear’s largest in Europe.

It all started in 1937 with the decision to build a factory as a vital component of the Central Industrial District. Construction began a few months later, and the plant, named the Stomil Rubber Tire Factory, was officially opened on April 4, 1939, with Eugeniusz Kwiatkowski, then Vice President of the Council of Ministers and Minister of Treasury, in attendance. Initially, the factory produced tires mainly for the Polish army. The war interrupted the company’s development, but soon after its end, the plant quickly returned to the development path, making a significant contribution to the advancement of automotive. In August 1972, the first Polish radial tires, designated D-90, intended for passenger cars and suitable for use in fall, spring, and summer, rolled off the production lines in Dębica.

Another important symbol of Dębica’s development was the Stomil D124 tire for Fiat 126p and 125p – a dream for many Poles. In the seventies, the production of winter tires began, which initially did not interest drivers – the boom for this type of tire only started in the 90s, prompting the company to launch a new type of winter tires under the name Dębica Frigo in 1994. Subsequent generations of this tire are still being produced today, earning drivers’ recognition.

Dębica tires have also made their mark in the history of motor sports. In 1971, they debuted at one of the largest and most challenging rally events in the world, the Monte Carlo Rally, and two years later, in the next edition of the race, Polish teams competed in the official “Stomil” Dębica team. Additionally, Dębica tires were used in the Munich – Vienna – Budapest rally, as well as in the largest national automotive event – the Rally Poland. Each of these events allowed the company to test new technologies, which later found applications in road tires.

Goodyear’s Investment

A pivotal moment for the Dębica factory was the acquisition of a strategic share package by the American investor, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company in December 1995. Over the years, Goodyear has invested over $500 million in the development of Dębica Tire Company SA, offering access to unique technological backgrounds and proprietary innovations. This has allowed for the expansion of the tire portfolio to include new brands such as Goodyear, Dunlop, Fulda, Sava, as well as new sizes and tires from new segments – including the start of production of truck tires, which has strengthened the plant’s position not only on the Polish but also on the European map. Currently, tires produced in Dębica are exported to 59 countries.

Goodyear strategic investor in F.O. Dębica SA. From left Wiliam J. Sharp, Zdzisław Chabowski, Sylvain G. Valensi, Lowell Dunckel

The factory occupies an area of 56 hectares. Production takes place in several segments, where passenger and truck tires, rubber mixtures, spare parts, and vulcanization membranes are manufactured. Following market trends, FO Dębica is developing the production of passenger tires in larger sizes, such as 18 and 19 inches, which is driven in part by the increasing demand for SUVs.

Production Optimization

The Dębica factory is currently the largest Goodyear factory in Europe and one of the three largest in the world. The company operates based on a production optimization plan, which involves precisely adjusting production capacities to current orders, combined with the repeatability of production processes, ensuring high standards of quality and safety of products. Optimization of the plant not only increases production efficiency but also minimizes the risk of errors, contributing to better resource management.DĘBICA TIRE COMPANY

Social Responsibility

The factory in Dębica has been an important institution for the city and region for decades and a place of employment for generations of residents of Subcarpathia. The company currently employs over 3000 people. Striving to be a good neighbor and an active participant in local community life, the company willingly cooperates with local partners and supports employees engaged in volunteering for the immediate environment. As part of Goodyear’s global Better Future strategy, factory workers volunteer for local schools and kindergartens. There is also a club of honorary blood donors in the factory, who regularly donate blood for the local hospital.

Dębica Tire Company also places great emphasis on sustainable development, as confirmed by the preparation of an ESG (Environmental, Social Responsibility, and Corporate Governance) report based on the EU directive on corporate sustainability reporting (CSRD). Listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, FO Dębica SA is among the first Polish companies to create this report standardizing actions for the environment, community, and corporate governance – its goal is to increase transparency and comparability of companies’ actions in these areas.

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