Hankook presented selections from its truck and bus tyre range at the Transport Compleet 2019 fair (3-5 September, Gorinchem, Netherlands), including the SmartFlex for medium-haul and regional transport and the SmartWork for on and off-road use. As a tyre supplier for MAN, Mercedes-Benz Trucks, Scania and Schmitz-Cargobull, Hankook said its participation in a fair alongside such names underlines its established position in the European commercial vehicle market.
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In reporting its financial results for the second quarter and first half of 2019, Hankook Tire notes that the six months to 30 June were punctuated by uncertainty within the global tyre market. Challenges faced by many tyre makers include declining vehicle sales, anti-dumping duties and uncertainty caused by US-China trade tensions. Hankook specifically battled high fixed costs during a low demand cycle, a relatively high dependency on China for both production and sales, and issues with stabilisation at its 2017-opened plant in the USA.
Hankook tyres will be fitted to more than 1,100 city buses in Barcelona under a new supply agreement with the city’s main public transit operator, Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB). Tyres will be supplied and fitted by Grupo Soledad, Hankook Tire’s distributor in Spain.
When Rinspeed presented its microSNAP, a vehicle system with interchangeable chassis and bodies, at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, eagle-eyed visitors may have spotted the display vehicle’s Hankook rubber. It wouldn’t wear anything else: Hankook Tire has been named official tyre partner to the microSNAP project, and the vehicle is kitted out in size 195/40R17 Hankook Ventus S1 evo tyres.
Hankook Tire’s recently-released electric vehicle tyre has already snapped up its first award. At last month’s International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA), the Hankook Kinergy AS EV was honoured in the automotive and transportation category. This is the first time Hankook Tire has received an IDEA award for a production model, having previously only gained this distinction with concept tyres, such as its ‘climate change’ concepts in 2015 and its ‘Birth On Nature’ (BON) tyre two years later.
Vacu-Lug has become the new retread manufacturing partner for Hankook in the UK. The company signalled its new status by including the manufacturer’s Alphatread retreading brand on its stand at the Commercial Vehicle Show (24-26 April, Birmingham NEC), coinciding with the beginning of production of the Alphatread bead-to-bead retread truck tyre range at the Vacu-Lug factory in Grantham.
Vacu-Lug has begun production of Hankook’s Alphatread truck tyre range at its factory in Grantham, Lincolnshire. The bead-to-bead retread tyre range is designed for medium haul fleets, and consists of four sizes. For drive axles, the R-DH05 is available in 295/80R22.5, 315/80R22.5 and 315/70R22.5 and for trailer axles, the R-TH22 is available in 385/65R22.5.
Chinese bus fleet operator Guangzhou Jumbo Bus Co Ltd. intends to convert its entire fleet of LNG-powered buses to electric propulsion over the coming three years, and as it does so will exclusively shod its fleet with Hankook tyres. Jumbo Bus, which operates six city bus companies and a total of 4,500 buses, signed a memorandum of understanding with Hankook Tire this month covering the supply of tyres specifically developed for electric buses.
When vehicle manufacturers talk about the future, the talk centres more and more on electric vehicles, and the timetable for their introduction is increasingly specific. During the IAA show in Germany a couple of months back, several major car makers announced or reiterated plans to bring all-electric models to market by 2020. This means that OEMs, including tyre makers, are already busy with preparations.
A ‘Design Insight Forum’ is taking place today at the new Hankook Technodome in South Korea. According to Hankook Tire, the Design Insight Forum is a platform for cultivating future leaders and unveiling “best of the best” cutting-edge concepts.
Hankook Tire has reported the successful high speed testing of its iFlex non-pneumatic tyre. The South Korean company has been developing the iFlex concept since 2011, and recently fitted its latest generation prototype tyre to a Kia Ray electric car in order to evaluate its performance at speed. The iFlex-shod Ray was driven through a slalom course at up to 130 km/h (80mph), and the tyre maker states that its airless tyre performed perfectly in all safety and durability tests.
According to the results of Hankook Tire America’s “Spring Gauge Index”, 61 per cent of drivers in the US would be interested in buying eco-friendly tyres. The main reason for making such a purchase is the potential fuel savings they’d deliver; Hankook’s study shows that 68 per cent of drivers who’d buy eco tyres gave this reason as their motivating factor.
Last month’s IAA motor show in Germany featured numerous concept vehicles. Concept tyres also made an appearance, including Hankook’s new concept for electric and hybrid vehicles, the Kinergy Eco EV. Described by the manufacturer as a “further development” of its spring 2011-launched Kinergy Eco, the tyre shown at the IAA featured tweaked contours to reduce air drag and rolling resistance below that of its production counterpart. Hankook also notes that the Kinergy Eco EV’s 155/70 R 19 dimensions give it an “unusually large” diameter (700mm) compared to its width.
Tyre manufacturer Hankook will present its latest tyres along with what the company calls an exciting program at the 64th International Motor Show in Frankfurt from 15-25 September 2011. Hankook’s booth (Hall 8, No. F03) will have world premieres of new premium ultra high performance tyres, next generation winter tyres, and a concept tyre specifically designed for electro vehicles.
A US$353 million manufacturing facility in Bekasi, Indonesia will become the seventh factory operated by Hankook Tire and its fifth facility outside of South Korea. The tyre maker’s decision to invest in a factory in Indonesia was announced a month after Hankook stated its intention to build a plant in China’s Chongqing province. Adding a seventh plant to Hankook’s global production network will, the company says, enable annual global output to reach 100 million units by 2014 – a stated goal of Hankook Tire’s mid-term business target.