Hankook to Build a Winter Tire Testing Site in Finland
Hankook Tire Co. Ltd. is establishing its own European winter tire testing facility in Ivalo, Finland, some 300 km/h north of the polar circle. The company has recently signed a contract to build the facility with the Finnish tire testing company Test World Oy next to their own testing area Mellatracks.
Hankook’s designated proving ground area will incorporate new test tracks for different test situations and will be equipped with the necessary connecting and service roads. The testing center will be built with state-of-the-art workshop facilities, as well as offices, meeting and social rooms. Hankook expects the entire site to be operational by December 2016.
“Hankook Tire constantly invests to enhance its competitiveness in the global market," says Seung Hwa Suh, vice chairman and CEO. "With our improved technological capability and production facility based on our technology leadership management, Hankook Tire will acquire more robust, more advanced R&D capabilities to become a global top-tier tire brand.
“The new proving ground in Ivalo where various winter tests will be made shall boost effectiveness of our winter tires to provide maximum satisfaction to our customers.”
Hankook says investing in a proving ground area in the world's most northerly region is partly due to the increasingly varying conditions and weather in more southerly locations, such as Scandinavian or Alpine areas. Ivalo's location offers stable and long winter conditions, which extends the time available for testing.
Flexible air services and a wide range of ancillary services have been identified as additional benefits. Once established, the Hankook Tire global R&D Center in keen cooperation with Europe Technical Centre (ETC) which is the company’s Germany-based R&D unit will be responsible to manage the new winter testing site.
“Hankook Tire has largely expanded R&D in Europe since the initial opening of our facility in 1997,” says Dipl-Ing. Klaus Krause, Head of the ETC. “Now we are one of the main suppliers to many premium automakers, including all German brands Audi, BMW, MAN, Mercedes-Benz Car and Truck, MINI, and Porsche. This requires a drastic increase in testing capacity, also for the expansion of our future winter original equipment business. Our long standing, successful and trustable partnership with Test World has convinced us to establish the new venue in Ivalo for the best possible results. Thus I am sure, the new exclusive facility will help us to fulfill our future requirements on time and without compromises.”
Test World Oy is a subsidiary of Millbrook Group Ltd. Millbrook CEO Alex Burns says, “Hankook Tire is our long-term customer and a premium player in the global tire market. The contract for the construction of a new winter tire testing center in Ivalo is an indication of confidence in Test World and at the same time strengthens its position as the world's leading winter tire test facility.”
For more information, visit Hankook Tire’s global website at www.hankooktire.com/global.