Hankook Tire signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on 16 April with Korean fleet management service provider UB1st. The cooperative relationship between the two companies focuses on creating a new type of fleet management service by combining Hankook Tire’s offline service capabilities with vehicle data collected by UB1st’s platforms, such as UbiKhan.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and digital sensor technology is being employed to automate the inspection of freshly-manufactured tyres at Hankook Tire & Technology’s production facilities. Hankook says its automatic inspection system will improve efficiency and consistency at the final stage of product testing.
Hankook Tire will support its product development with a new in-house creative database that offers “unique industry insights and new concepts.” The tyre maker has set up this ‘CMF LAB’ database together with Model Solution, its prototype and manufacturing solutions company. Model Solution will use the CMF LAB as a strategic springboard for new business expansion.
Tyre manufacture at Nexen Tire’s Changnyeong plant in South Korea resumed yesterday after a two-day break in production in order to implement “protective measures” against coronavirus. In disclosures submitted to the Korea Exchange (KRX), the tyre maker reported its intention to suspend tyre production in Changnyeong on 1 and 2 March, and resume operations on 3 March.
The latest global tyre market share figures from tyre industry analyst Astutus Research show how long-established, leading players headquartered in Japan, Europe, and North America have seen their volume share diminish, while Chinese, ASEAN, and selected other markets’ tyre manufacturers’ share has risen. The analyst states that in aggregate, the ten leading PCLT tyre manufacturers based in Japan, Europe and North America (J-E-NA) have lost almost 6 percentage points of market share since the end of 2011 (OE and replacement segments combined, volumes in tyre units). In part this reflects a strategic choice of some to focus on the higher value premium segments of the market.
It may not be the best-selling Korean tyre brand worldwide, but at home Kumho outsells its domestic rivals. Data from the Korea Tire Manufacturers Association (KOTMA) indicates that 6.52 million replacement market Kumho tyres were sold in South Korea in 2018. This is more than 40 per cent of all locally-made tyres sold in the country.
A ceremony was held on 6 July to mark to completion of Doublestar Tire’s acquisition of a 45 per cent share in Kumho Tire. The event in Seoul was titled ‘Celebrating New Beginning’ and was attended by the Chinese and South Korean tyre makers’ management teams as well as representatives from Korea Development Bank, which together with other creditors still maintains a 23 per cent share in Kumho Tire.
The growing strength of the automotive relationship between the UK and South Korea has been highlighted today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) during its trade mission to the country.
A very small percentage of Kumho Tire’s output in recent years was shipped to the Republic of Korea Air Force for its F-16 fighter and T-50 trainer jet, and this military business was a complicating factor in the sale a 45 per cent stake in the tyre maker to China’s Doublestar Tyre. Following the vote to accept Doublestar’s KRW 646.3 billion (£441.9 million) bid, Kumho Tire has requested that South Korea’s government cancel its designation as a defence-related company. This request is now being reviewed.
The latest news from South Korea suggests that local tyre distributor and retail network operator Tire Bank Co. Ltd. would like to purchase the Kumho Tire shareholding that China’s Qingdao Doublestar Tire is currently negotiating to acquire from creditors. The unexpected appearance of the Daejeon-based firm, which hinted it may bid together with one or more partners, further complicates an already drawn out and difficult transaction.
It won’t be a Good Friday for Kumho Tire if an agreement between its creditors and the labour union representing its workforce isn’t reached by the end of this week. Friday 30 March is the deadline set for a formal consensus regarding the sale of a 45 per cent share in the tyre maker to China’s Qingdao Doublestar Tire for KRW 646.3 billion (£421.7 million).
Bridgestone Corporation says it is ready to support the staging of the upcoming Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 through a variety of product, athlete and education initiatives in South Korea. PyeongChang is Bridgestone’s first Olympic Winter Games as a Worldwide Olympic Partner.
According to industry sources, Kumho Tires’ creditors will return the agreement on use of the Kumho brand name to Kumho Industrial this week ahead of a planned signing of a contract before the end of the month.