South Korea’s Ministry of Science and Information & Communications Technology has given Hankook Tire and its Hankook Technodome R&D centre its ‘Certification of Exemplary Laboratories in Safety Management’, a distinction given to laboratories that have passed an expert assessment by leading professionals. Hankook comments that this is the first time a tyre company has received this certification in Korea.
Hankook Tire says its new Ventus S1 Evo Z gives us a foretaste of the generation of ultra-ultra-high-performance tyres it will offer in future. We’ve gained a first glimpse of Hankook’s new UUHP rubber on the Mini John Cooper Works GP, where it sees duty as the exclusive original equipment tyre. The fastest roadgoing Mini ever to see light of day wears the Hankook Ventus S1 Evo Z in size 225/35R18 87Y XL.
The Chevrolet Silverado is the USA’s second-best-selling vehicle and its sibling the GMC Sierra can also be found amongst the ten top sellers; these models’ combined sales in the first six months of 2020 approached 600,000 units. Hankook Tire’s latest original equipment approval thus has the potential to give the brand considerable exposure. Hankook Dynapro MT2 tyres will be standard equipment on the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra Heavy Duty.
Hankook has launched a new all-season tyre for cars and small-to-medium sized SUVs under its Laufenn brand. The Laufenn G FIT 4S features widening grooves and a high grip silica compound for year-round European driving. Hankook is developing its second-line Laufenn brand globally in the consumer and commercial segments, offering an attractive price-performance ratio. The Laufenn G FIT 4S has been developed for price-conscious drivers, allowing them to avoid seasonal tyre changes, while offering solid all-weather performance.
Hankook and German touring car series DTM are marking a decade-long partnership this season. The manufacturer has supplied tyres at more than 150 races, with the Hankook Ventus Race demonstrating its quality in a diverse range of conditions. Following its DTM debut in 2011, Hankook has developed the tyre in four phases to tackle new developments in the series.
Hankook Tyre UK is TyreSafe’s Tyre Manufacturer of the Year for 2020. It is the second consecutive year that Hankook has won the award, recognising Hankook’s significant contribution to raising driver awareness of tyre safety-related issues. Over the past twelve months Hankook UK launched three tyre safety campaigns across social channels including Facebook and YouTube. TyreSafe chair and chair of awards judging, Stuart Jackson said: “Hankook’s commitment to raise awareness on tyre safety resulted in a well targeted campaign, which highlighted specific messages relevant to their core age group. A good library of resources was created to support it resulting in a programme of clear and engaging content.”
Hankook’s global launch of Laufenn brand commercial vehicle tyres, targeting the segment’s second tier, represents a substantial development for the company’s commercial vehicle tyre business. For the UK market in which Hankook is a leader in terms of sales, the initial nine Laufenn patterns cover more than 85 per cent of tyres in the market for goods and people transportation, as well as construction truck tyres. Most sizes also offer the three peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF) marking for use in winter conditions. The Laufenn range was due to be presented in the UK at the Commercial Vehicle Show, before the Birmingham NEC event was cancelled due to the pandemic. Tyres & Accessories took the opportunity of the launch to speak to Guy Heywood, Hankook’s European marketing and strategy director for its truck and bus business, and UK sales director Paul Emery about the addition of Laufenn to the manufacturer’s European commercial vehicle tyre portfolio, Hankook’s position as a leading player in the segment, and its response to the coronavirus crisis and the financial headwinds emanating from the pandemic.
Bridgestone’s Blizzak LM005 tyre has won the Auto Express Winter Tyre Test 2020 beating 205/55 R16 tyres from seven other manufacturers to the top of the table. Auto Express cited the tyre’s performance in the wet as a key factor. The tyre, which boasts an ‘A’ tyre label grade for wet grip across the full range, has secured Bridgestone’s first Auto Express test win and follows on from a series of improved results in recent times. However, there were strong performances from Hankook’s Winter i*cept RS2 (2nd) and Michelin’s Alpin 6 (3rd). At the same time, we have to note that Hankook Goodyear and Dunlop each won individual categories as well as Bridgestone, of course. Looking forward, Continental’s TS 870 has to be described as the one that got away because it’s market-beating performance couldn’t be counted owing to the fact that the Covid-19 pandemic has delayed the new tyre’s release for a year.
Hankook’s story is undoubtedly one of extraordinary growth. The South Korean-based manufacturer inaugurated its car tyre plant in Hungary in 2007, which currently produces around 19 million tyres annually. In parallel, the company has succeeded in becoming an OE supplier to nearly all European premium manufacturers. The same applies to truck tyres, albeit to a lesser extent. Even if Hankook only postponed plans to expand its Hungarian factory to include truck tyre production until the end of last year due to economic uncertainties, market observers can see that the tyremaker holds double-digit truck tyre market shares in in many European. For Hankook, this isn’t the end of the success story, but rather the introduction to even more extensive growth. Moving forward, Hankook was respond more fully to the increasingly demanding needs of European truck tyre replacement market customers.
Formula Renault Eurocup exclusive tyre supplier Hankook is looking forward to the second half of the 2020 series, describing it as “one of the strongest Formula series in the world.” Supplying its Ventus Race tyre since 2019, Hankook visited Zandvoort, Netherlands to mark the halfway point in the delayed 2020 season – the first time Formula Renault Eurocup has raced at the circuit since 2000. Victor Martins enjoyed three successful days at the circuit in the dunes on the Dutch coast, consolidating his position at the top of the overall standings, courtesy of a victory and a second place.