Seung Bin Lim says truck tires will be Hankook's next focus as it continues its efforts to be a tier 1 tire company.

Seung Bin Lim says truck tires will be Hankook's next focus as it continues its efforts to be a tier 1 tire company.

A day after unveiling its new R&D Center in Daejeon, Korea, Hankook Tire Co. Ltd.  already has made clear its next focus.

“Internally, we need to expand more in TBR and LTR,” says Seung Bin Lim, vice president of the company’s global marketing strategy division.

In 2015, truck and bus tires and light truck tires accounted for 10% of Hankook’s $6 billion in sales, compared to the 89% of sales attributed to passenger tires.

Adding more truck tires to the portfolio would lead to the need for more production. In 2012 Hankook had the capacity to build 89.3 million tires, and in 2016 it’s 103 million tires. By 2020 the company forecasts its capacity to reach 135 million tires.

Some of that expansion will come from the company’s currently under-construction passenger tire plant in Tennessee. Phase one will be complete in April 2017, with capacity of 5.5 million tires each year. The second phase of construction will double production, and will “effectively meet the demands of the North American market,” the company says.

Hankook has identified five regions as potential locations for future production sites: Mexico, Brazil, the Middle East, Russia, and Eastern Europe. Company officials didn’t provide a timetable for when it will make a decision. Some of those sites would be used to bump up truck tire production, Lim says.

Read this to catch up on this week's unveiling of Hankook's new global R&D center.

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