Purge any thought that Hankook Tire has a monopoly when it comes to tie-ups between the tyre and fashion industries, even in the Korean Peninsula. Rival firm Nexen Tire is collaborating with French-born outdoor wear brand Eider to release four types of hiking shoes and boots. All feature soles containing tyre compounds.
Hankook Tire correctly observes that a cross-industry collaboration between a tyre company and fashion brand “piques curiosity” as these businesses “seem to have less or no connection at all.” But a lack of relatedness hasn’t stopped such an unlikely pairing from becoming reality: Hankook is launching apparel in collaboration with South Korean fashion company Handsome.
Since March, cumulative passenger car and light truck tyre imports to the European Union and UK have, for the first time, recovered to run above pre-pandemic levels. This is despite the well-documented impact of sharply higher ocean freight costs in this period, and disruption to production in some source countries. A newly published report by Astutus Research, “European PCLT Tire Demand and Supply Forecasts to 2026”, shows that in the first seven months of 2022, European (the EU-27 plus UK)* imports from outside the region were 11% higher than the same period last year and 5% higher than the equivalent pre-Covid period in 2019.
Hankook Tire is set to invest US$1.6 billion in the expansion of its Clarksville, Tennessee tyre factory. The investment includes the previously announced Phase 2 expansion, which will increase Hankook’s capacity to produce passenger car and light truck (PC/LT) tyres twofold as well as a Phase 3 expansion, which will enable the company to begin producing truck bus and radial (TBR) tyres in the United States. The company estimates that the addition of the Phase 3 expansion project will create an additional 400 jobs in the Clarksville region, for a total of 1,200 new positions.
The family ownership of Hankook Tire and Technology must pay a fine of KRW 4.59 billion (£2.9 million) after losing a lawsuit related to foreign assets. Seoul-based publication The Korea Herald writes that the Seoul Administrative Court recently ruled against the lawsuit brought by Cho Yang-rae, honorary chairman of Hankook & Co., and his eldest son Cho Hyun-sik.
First presented at the SEMA show in Las Vegas back in 2014 and subsequently launched in Europe and dozens of other markets, Laufenn is Hankook Tire’s second brand. After introducing Laufenn to the world, Hankook is now bringing the brand home and offering it in South Korea for the first time. By debuting Laufenn locally, the tyre maker aims to “further accelerate” its domestic market penetration with a multi-brand strategy that satisfies “the diverse tastes of consumers.”
An opening ceremony took place on 25 May for the largest proving ground in Asia, Hankook Technoring. Hankook Tire & Technology says the facility in Taean, South Korea will serve as a state-of-the-art research and development centre for its “most advanced products to come.”
South Korean tyre makers can once again compete head-to-head on the baseball field, with Kumho Tire resuming its sponsorship of the Kia Tigers after a four-year hiatus. It joins Hankook Tire, sponsor of the Doosan Bears, in the top-level KBO League.
Hankook & Company, holding firm for Hankook Tire & Technology, has appointed Bahk Jae-wan chairman of its Board of Directors. The appointment was confirmed at a general meeting of shareholders and board meeting held on 30 March.
Hankook Tire & Technology is collaborating with Korean sportswear brand Prospecs to release a series of running shoes with enhanced grip in wet and wintry conditions. Prospecs provides this extra traction by utilising the tread pattern from the Hankook Kinergy 4S2 all-season tyre on the trainers’ soles.
Various news sources are reporting that South Korea’s Kumho Tire signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Saudi Arabia-based Blatco (Black Arrow Tire Co. as part of the Saudi-South Korean Business Forum on 18 January 2022. As many as 13 agreements were signed during the Saudi-South Korean Business Forum, of which 10 were signed by oil major Saudi Aramco.
With the attainment of three additional ‘Certifications of Exemplary Laboratories in Safety Management’, five laboratories within Hankook Tire’s R&D centre in Korea are now officially certified for excellent safety management.
In May we shared that Hankook & Company Co., Ltd., the holding company of Hankook Tire & Technology Co., Ltd., had established a fund the previous month to facilitate the securing of a new growth engine. The company reports that this business portfolio, named S.T.R.E.A.M., has made its first investment. It has invested in Mobiltech, an artificial intelligence-based spatial information and service start-up, and is now contemplating potential joint projects with Hankook Tire.
SpeedMate claims to be South Korea’s leading automotive aftermarket brand, and tyres are just one of many products sold through its outlets and Tire Pick O2O platform. The SK Group company has now entered into an agreement with Hankook Tire & Technology for the supply of an exclusive tyre brand, Roadmate.
The 2015-launched Hankook Winter i*cept RS² is still delivering strong performances in comparative tyre tests, such as its ‘good’ rating in Auto Bild’s winter 2021 evaluation, but a successor tyre is already available – in Korea, at least. Hankook Tire & Technology is launching the Winter i*cept RS³ in its domestic market today.