Hankook supplies tires to premium automakers
By Kim Tae-jong
The nation’s leading tire manufacturer Hankook Tire proves its quality and reliability by supplying tires to more global premium automakers.
The seventh-largest tire company in the world announced it has recently been selected as a new original equipment manufacturer for BMW for its new 3-Series.
Under the contract, the vehicle will come from factories equipped with Hankook Ventus S1 evo2 tires. The 3-Series is the third model by BMW Group to be fitted with Hankook tires.
“Supplying original equipment for one of the best-selling, key models in the BMW range is proof of trust and motivation,” an official from the tire maker said.
Shortly before the contract with the German-based automaker, Hankook Tire also announced it would supply its product to leading medium- and heavy-duty truck manufacturer Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA).
Under the agreement, Hankook Tire became a major supplier for Freightliner Cascadia and Coronado models starting in May. The two flagship Freightliner trucks will be equipped with Hankook Tire’s AL11 steer and DL11 drive tires.
Through such contracts with global prominent automakers, Hankook Tire now aims to become one of the top five tire manufacturers.
Founded in 1941 as the first local tire manufacturer, Hankook is one of the fastest growing tire companies in the world, with sales that have quadrupled in the past 10 years.
Over 80 percent of Hankook Tire’s sales are on overseas markets.
Now, Hankook has a number of tire original equipment agreements with several global, premium vehicle manufacturers for passenger cars, buses, light trucks and commercial trucks.
As the first Korean tire manufacturer its first export began with supplying tires to Volkswagen in 1991. It went on to sign a contract with Ford in 1999.
Currently, Hankook supplies tires for major global automakers such as Toyota, BMW, GM and Audi.
To that end, the tire maker also has five research and development (R&D) centers at home and in China, Germany, Japan and the U.S. Hankook employs about 900 researchers and also invests 5 percent of annual sales in research and development.
It plans to build the nation’s biggest research center in 2015 in preparation to be one of the top five tire manufacturers.