Bridgestone Corp. once reigned supreme in Rubber & Plastics News' Global Tire Report.
Now Michelin has climbed to the top of the list.
Still, that doesn't mean either is the world's biggest tire producer.
For 10 years now, the Japan-based tire juggernaut has dominated our annual Top 75 tire companies in the world, ranked by overall sales. And would think that its 188 million tires produced in 2017 would make it No. 1 in tire production as well.
But the real answer may surprise you, Bridgestone doesn't even come close to the real No. 1 in tires produced. Michelin? Goodyear? Conti? Pirelli? No, no, no and nope.
The world's No. 1 tire producer is none other than … Lego Group.
That's right, toy tires count.
The group holds the world record for most tires produced per year at a staggering 318 million—when last reported in 2011—which comes out to about 870,000 tires per day. That's nearly double the amount Bridgestone produced last year, which has held steady at about 180 million since 2013.
Lego has been producing tires since 1962 when it included its first Lego Wheel within set No. 400, which became the bestselling set of 1967 at more than 820,000 sold.
Granted the tires Lego produces are not as "highly engineered" as those of the big boys. They the largest ones are only about 4 inches high, with the smallest units about a half-inch tall. I wouldn't recommend stocking up on Legos as a replacement for your spare because I seriously doubt Lego worries about proper inflation, tread depth or wet breaking, let alone government regulations regarding vehicle safety issues.
Then again, Bridgestone, Michelin and Goodyear don't have to deal with choking hazards.
Chris Sweeney used to have a very elaborate Lego collection, but probably wouldn't count on it for a replacement tire. Follow him on Twitter @CSweeneyRPN.
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