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.
Over the past seven years, Hankook has firmly established its range of hot retreaded Alphatread tyres in many European markets. What began in Great Britain as part of a joint venture partnership is now being given a new boost in Central Europe. With the takeover of Reifen Müller in 2018, Hankook is now also the operator of its own retreading operation, which is being gradually expanded into a fully-fledged Hankook factory retreading factory – something colleagues at our German sister publication Neue Reifenzeitung found out. Now that Hankook is also manufacturing Alphatread tyres for Germany and neighbouring markets, the medium term is about much more than just a new product range: Hankook wants to redefine its position as a service provider on the commercial vehicle tyre market and establish itself as a system supplier. Customers in other European markets should also benefit from this.
This article appears in full in the September edition of Tyres & Accessories’ Retreading Special supplement. Subscribers can read the supplement online here. Not yet a subscriber? You can change that here.
Hankook Tire concedes that its response to last year’s “extremely challenging” business environment and the rapidly-changing trends influencing the tyre industry was “not fully sufficient” to combat downward pressure upon its business. Hyun Shick Cho, vice chairman and chief executive officer of Hankook Technology Group, has addressed this issue in a letter to shareholders, discussing means of responding preemptively to these changing trends.
Another tyre wholesaler in Germany is now in manufacturer hands. Hankook Tire has announced the 100 per cent equity purchase of independent wholesaler and retailer Reifen Müller. The acquisition gives Hankook Tire ownership of Reifen Müller’s sales distribution affiliate company, Reifen Müller KG, its 44 retail service outlets and the Reifen Müller GmbH & Co. Runderneuerungswerk KG retreading business.
Marangoni Retreading Systems reports the installation of a new Ringbuilder 3003 at the plant operated by Reifen Müller GmbH, one of Europe’s largest retreaders. The long-time Marangoni partner was the first European retreader to use the Ringbuilder technology, and this additional machine gives the Reifen Müller facility in Germany the capacity to turn out a further 200 tyres every eight hour shift.
In March 2015, industrial tyre manufacturer Magna Tyres announced that Reifen Helm would complement existing wholesaler Interpneu by distributing the Magna and MTP tyre brands in northern Germany, and last month it shared news that Reifen Lorenz had taken on that role in parts of central and southern Germany. This morning the company shared that, effective June, Reifen Müller KG will also serve as a partner for Magna and OTP in central and southern Germany.
Marangoni Retreading Systems Deutschland GmbH is congratulating Reifen Müller from Hammelburg for making its millionth tyre, a Ringtread Blackline retread.
In peak season, Reifen Müller’s Hammelburg factory turns out around 350 tyres a day. With Ringtread technology, the plant can produce 200 retreads in each 8 hour shift. The high level of automation offers high productivity, savings in labour and faster processing times. The RB 3000 is a completely automatic machine, in which the cushion gum is applied directly onto the casing.
A week ago, Tyres & Accessories reported that German tyre firm the Reifen Ihle Group faced being broken up for sale some eight months after filing for insolvency. It has now been officially confirmed that the 12 Reifen Ihle outlets, which operate as part of the German Point S network, have been sold to Reifen Müller KG, a tyre business that operates 30 outlets in central Germany. Klaus Müller told our sister publication Neue Reifenzeitung that the 12 Reifen Ihle outlets “pass perfectly” to Reifen Müller. But while the outlets’ future is now secure, their days as part of the Point S network are numbered.