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Continental AG, commonly known as Continental, is a leading German automotive manufacturing company specialising in tyres, brake systems, interior electronics, automotive safety, powertrain and chassis components, tachographs, and other parts for the automotive and transportation industries. Continental is based in Hanover, Lower Saxony, Germany. Continental is the world’s fourth-largest tyre manufacturer. Continental was founded in 1871 as a rubbermanufacturer, Continental-Caoutchouc und Gutta-Percha Compagnie. After acquiring Siemens AG’s VDO automotive unit in 2007 Continental was ranked third in global OEM automotive parts sales in 2012 according to a study sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
In 2008, Continental appeared overextended with its integration of VDO and had since lost almost half of its market capitalisation when it found itself to be the takeover target of the family-owned Schaeffler AG. By 2009, Schaeffler successfully installed the head of its motor division at the helm of Continental.
On 6 September 2012, Continental returned to the benchmark DAX index of 30 selected German blue chip stocks after a 45-month absence. Schaeffler AG is the controlling shareholder and currently owns 46% of Continental shares.