Hankook to supply Daimler, hints at further football commitments
Germany’s Handelsblatt has reported Hankook’s “attack” on rival Continental. In an article published 22 June, the financial daily shares that the Korean tyre maker has been approved by Daimler for original equipment passenger car tyre supply, and it opines that Hankook is “increasingly proving itself an aggressive challenger to European market leader Continental.”
Using statistics supplied by Tyres & Accessories and its European sister publications, the Handelsblatt notes that Hankook, with a 2011 turnover of 4.2 billion euros, is now the seventh-largest tyre maker in the world – a ranking admittedly three places behind Conti, whose tyre segment turnover reached 8.8 billion euros, but one that has risen in recent years. It also quotes Hankook Tire president and CEO for Europe Jin-Wook Choi as saying “Hankook has an ambitious goal. We want to penetrate the top bracket of the leading worldwide tyre manufacturers. At present we are globally in seventh place and ranked sixth in Europe.
“We are making further progress in the premium market,” Choi continued. “Along with BMW we have now won a further manufacturer as customer.” The Handelsblatt says “industry circles” have confirmed Hankook’s link with Daimler. In addition to the two German prestige manufacturers, Hankook also supplies Volkswagen with original equipment tyres.
Choi points out that Hankook enjoys a price advantage of “around 15 per cent” over the leading European tyre makers, yet the Handelsblatt observes that the Korean still lacks a suitable brand image in Europe. To address this, Hankook is engaging is sports sponsorship, putting its support behind teams such as 2011-12 German Bundesliga winner Borussia Dortmund and Sunderland AFC. “We’re expanding our international football activities,” Choi told the Handelsblatt, without elaborating on any specific plans; the Handelsblatt, again quoting unnamed “industry circles”, says that once Euro 2012 – a championship Continental is using as an advertising platform – is over, Hankook will enter a partnership with the UEFA, the Union of European Football Associations. The financial daily names the Champions League and Europa League as two potential partnership candidates.