Hankook Extends Audi OE into Europe
Hankook sends word that in future the Audi A3, A3 Sportback and A3 Cabrio will roll off the assembly line fitted with Hankook tyres. The South Korean manufacturer’s Ventus S1 evo range have been selected as original equipment, and will be supplied for the A3 models is size 225/45 ZR 17.
This newly finalised original equipment agreement extends the partnership between Audi and Hankook Tire to the European market. Hankook has been equipping various Audi models for the Chinese market since 2008, however this is the first time Hankook’s tyres have been directly to the vehicle manufacturer’s main plant in Germany, the Audi works in the Bavarian city of Ingolstadt.
“We are proud that we will now be able to supply Audi with our top product here in Europe as well,” stated Jin-Wook Choi, Hankook’s executive vice-president and head of Hankook Tire in Europe. “Around the world, the Audi name stands for first class technical performance and superior quality standards. That applies especially to Germany – Audi’s home market. German drivers place the highest requirements on a cars perfect set-up and handling, this comes as a direct result of the cars interaction with its tyres. It is precisely this interplay that we perfected by using our Kontrol Technology development philosophy, an approach that played a key role in the development of our flagship product, the Ventus S1 evo.”
The new agreement with Audi marks another milestone in the tyre manufacturer’s original equipment strategy. In addition to Audi, Hankook Tire’s clientele also includes Europe’s largest automotive manufacturer, Volkswagen, which has relied on Hankook tyres for a number of years. This year has brought substantial growth in this partnership as well, reports Hankook, with the engineers at VW choosing Hankook Tire as original equipment for the T5 lines (Transporter, Caravelle, Multivan and California) in Europe and for the Jetta, Jetta SportWagen and New Beetle for the American market. When added to the existing partnerships for the Polo, Golf, Tiguan, Caddy and Caddy Maxi, these recent OE agreements bring the current total to nine different VW models factory-equipped with Hankook tyres. Other manufacturers supplied by Hankook include Chevrolet, Chrysler, Ford, Hyundai, Kia, Opel and Renault.
Hankook Tire’s ultra-high-performance Ventus S1 evo tyre was developed for high-end sports cars and fast or tuned luxury cars. As in past years, the high-end wide-base tyre was given the highest rating, “highly recommended,” in the summer tyre tests performed by the well-known German trade magazine Sport Auto (04/2009). The test drivers, relates Hankook, were especially impressed with how the Ventus S1 evo performed during dry handling. In this area, testers concluded, the Hankook flagship product “is at the top of the game.” In the “wet braking” category, which is highly relevant in terms of safety, the high-end wide-based tyre also delivered top scores. Further test criteria included steering precision and handling on dry and wet surfaces. The high-performance tyre from Hankook took top marks in each of these areas, too. As the sport auto testers summed it up, the Ventus S1 evo is “smooth” and makes “driving dynamics a pleasure.”
The test editors of Auto Bild sportscars agreed. The market leader in the German-language sports car magazine segment recently named the S1 evo the clear winner in its summer tyre tests. Thanks to its “optimally executed dynamics and perfect balance” both under wet conditions and on a dry surface, along with its unrivalled low noise levels, the sporty “whisper tyre” shot ahead of the competition. In addition, said the testers at Auto Bild sportscars, the tyre is not only easy on the ears for people in surrounding areas, but even delivers up to three per cent better fuel economy than the other test candidates. On the test vehicle, this averaged out to savings of 0.29 litres of fuel, or 6.9 g CO2, for 100 kilometres.