It’s a battle of two tyre giants: Continental, Germany versus Yokohama, Japan. Which brand has the best range for Aussie roads, and which provides the best value? Read on and you’ll leave this page with a good idea!
Continental has the richer history of the two, founded in 1871 as a rubber manufacturer, which has proven to be a common origin with tyre companies. Yokohama was founded in 1917 – right around the time Japan was at a naval war with Germany. The brand was established in Tokyo, and quickly branched out around the world thanks to its partnership with BF Goodrich Tyres.
Continental has had a shaky history, at one stage losing half of its market share. It bounced back recently though to return to its blue-chip German stock status. However, it’s what its tyres are made of that really matters, so we’ve compared the two manufacturers and their consumer ranges, using the most common tyre size in Australia – 205/65/15. This size tyre is commonly found on cars such as some Toyota Corolla models as well as a number of other small passenger sedans and hatchbacks.
Let’s start with the German giant Continental. A quick visit to its website makes you realise the brand is all about control and safety. This might suggest it’s not about mileage and economy as such, and that its tyres fetch a premium. The company’s slogan is “The Future in Motion”, suggesting it is a king of innovation. We paid a visit to JaxTyres to compare prices:
|Model||Purpose||Approx price per tyre|
|ContiComfort Contact 5||Quiet ride, handling and braking||$105|
|ContiVan Contact 100||For vans and people movers, deeper tread for greater mileage||$165|
For the Aussie motorist who ‘simply owns a car’, the options are rather limited. The ContiComfort tyre, however, looks to hit all the right spots at a reasonable price for most. Continental, in typical German fashion, has provided a targeted, well-rounded offering, catering to the needs of both ends of the market – comfort, with a slight performance edge.
Continental’s van offering is sure to be a viable option for people who need a van for work, or a people mover for those with kids. Its deeper tread is sure to affect fuel economy, but its focus on hardiness and mileage is an attractive proposition. Overall, Continental’s range is modest, but these tyres are a great option for everyday, all-purpose use.
A visit to the Yokohama website immediately leads you to believe the brand is much more performance-oriented than its German rivals. Well-known as ‘ADVAN Tyres’ in Japan, they are commonly found in many motorsports leagues as the official tyre sponsor and supplier. Using the 205/65/15 tyre size at Bob Jane T-Marts, we assessed Yokohama’s offering to the everyday Aussie motorist:
|Model||Purpose||Approx price per tyre|
|BlueEarth AE01||Eco-friendly and fuel saving||$109|
With only one match for cars in this tyre size, Yokohama is on par with Continental in range. The model name straight away suggests this is not a tyre for performance and handling. In fact, Yokohama claims this tyre will give you up to 10 per cent better fuel economy when it comes to urban driving.
How it arrived at that figure, we are unsure, however this drastic fuel saving is an attractive prospect. The tyres, as Yokohama state, are made of a compound with lower rolling resistance, which suggests they are not built for cornering or handling purposes. But given the segment of car this tyre size is featured on, Yokohama can be forgiven for simply catering to market demand.
Continental vs Yokohama: Who’s the winner?
In this tyre segment, Continental and Yokohama appear to be pandering to different ends of the market. Continental is appealing to the customer looking for comfort and a slight performance and safety edge, whereas Yokohama is appealing to the fuel economy and eco-driven motorist. However, for the everyday motorist in an urban area we suspect both are safe brands to choose from. It’s worth comparing the two brands in your own tyre size (specs are found on the tyre itself, or in your manual!) to see what each manufacturer offers, and what matches your budget and needs best.