But now, in an effort to reduce CO2 emissions and find an alternative to rain forest-sourced rubber, Continental is stepping up its research into making rubber out of dandelions.
The tyre manufacturing giant believes the milky substance inside the plant could prove vial in transforming the current dependence on tropical rubber trees in the production of car tyres.
Scientists have been trying and failing to render rubber from the flower since the 1930s, including in the Soviet Union and during the World War II (CarSifu posted a story on the topic in 2014)
Now Continental has opened a laboratory in the German city of Anklam for the purpose of researching how rubber can be sustainably manufactured from Russian dandelion roots.
The lack of suitable plants and a reasonable extraction process has left researchers empty-handed until now, Professor Dirk Pruefer, head of the research team in Aklam, explains.
The technology to extract the rubber is being developed by the University of Muenster, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft institute and the Julius Kuehn Institute.
Plastic from tyres has been determined as a major source of ocean pollution, while debris from tyre abrasion is particularly harmful to the environment.