What is the challenge in developing tires for the different regional markets? Is it necessary to have different types of tires for different regions?
Yes, because different regions have different prevailing weather and road conditions, as well as consumer demands – the comfort of the drive is most important in Korea whereas control is more important in Europe (along with environmental concerns of course – but this is across all markets). One of the strategic advantages of Hankook Tire is that we apply our global technology at a regional and local level across five R&D center located world-wide. This also, of course, has the inverse effect allowing innovations from the regional market to feedback into products developed throughout the world. In terms of challenges, cost could hold back other companies in gearing up to have a regionalization of tire development. However, we see this cost being outweighed by the huge benefits of ensuring we are providing the best technology suited to the region; cost will never compromise our pursuit to produce and develop quality, high performing tires.
What is the status of Hankook Tire in the research and development area so far? How do Hankook Tire train qualified personnel and run the research and development business?
Innovation through technology is one of the primary factors that will drive Hankook Tire’s growth and reputation and help it become a leading global company.
Technology is at the heart of everything we do. We consistently invest approximately 5% of revenue in R&D annually, proportionally more than our competitors and 6% of HANKOOK TIRE employees, more employees than from our corporate division, are dedicated to R&D (617 in Korea and 299 overseas, with 380 staff holding doctoral and masters’ degrees).
Our global technology expertise is strategically applied at a local level through five R&D centers (Korea, China, Germany, Japan and the US) to help us produce tires that meet the demands of consumers, and weather and road conditions in different regions.
In 2008 Olympics, the environmental protection has been raised as top issue. Is Hankook Tire has any plan to launch "Green Tire"?
This is a global trend, and environmental concerns have been very relevant to the tire industry for a number of years and an area in which Hankook Tire has a strong commitment to. We have been continuing to invest in environmental technologies and innovations that can be applied across and integrated into all our tire products as well as adopting more environmentally friendly practices at both our production facilities and regional offices.
Hankook Tire is now building a strong reputation in this area, and in Europe, for example, Stiftung Warentest magazine recognized the Optimo K715 as the most environmentally friendly in its class. Our concerted efforts into specialized environmental friendly and run-flat tires, reflects the growing demands from both consumers throughout the world and, importantly, OE manufacturers.
In which direction have you to expand your product line-up to be successful in the future? What are the future trends from point of product?
Technological innovation is driving trends for better products, not limited to high performance tires. Hankook Tire has developed and enhanced many proprietary tire technologies that have helped grow brand reputation, and its technical-rich high performance tires continue to grow and receive increasingly favorable and class-leading reviews from major automotive publications. These include the creation of a virtual engineering system to design and evaluate tires more accurately and other technologies such as:
- Optimal profile-design technology to develop ultra-lightweight, ultra-fuel efficient and environmentally friendly tires;
- Tire movement-prediction technology;
- Advanced material technology.
Hankook Tire will be placing more efforts in developing more technologically advanced and high value added tires which will continue to differentiate our brand from our competitors and tap into the demand for better performing, high quality tires. We are also placing more efforts in environmental friendly and run-flat tires, reflecting the growing demands from both consumers and OE manufacturers. Hankook Tire is planning to launch environmentally friendly products, which raise fuel efficiency and are a good match for OE Hybrid cars.
What will Hankook Tire be doing to increase brand awareness and preference?
For Hankook Tire, the following activities are underway to raise brand awareness and preference:
Expansion of overseas OE business to raise the brand recognition. Focus on supplying tires to well-known overseas car makers. New and additional supply contracts with prominent car makers are expected in the second half of this year.
Participate in prominent overseas motor sport competitions. Participating in events held in such places as Germany, UK, Italy, US and Japan. In addition, Hankook Tire is actively taking part in worldwide automotive fairs.
Enhancing brand value and awareness through leading overseas automotive magazines’ tire performance tests. An objective quality evaluation is an underlying value that raises brand profile especially for worldwide consumers
In terms of Hankook Tire branding, what does “driving emotion” mean? Will this “tag line” remain and be used in messaging?
Driving Emotion is the current tag line used for our global brand and we do not have any plans to change this. Driving Emotion is about the emotional experience of drivers when driving a vehicle with Hankook Tire – whether that’s feeling safe and secure because of the grip and control of our tires, being relaxed and having a comfortable journey or being exhilarated through our high performing sports or SUV tires
What sort of service do you provide to customers and end consumers?
Service is of utmost importance to us and we are constantly striving to improve customer service. We have AS personnel in 30 cities around the country to provide services when and where they’re needed. Furthermore, we guarantee service within 48 hours to customers wherever they may be.
Hankook Tire also conducts regular TBR safety inspections to ensure consumer safety while the 800 hotline provides speedy consultations and services.
How can I place a bulk order for Hankook Tire products?
Click onto our global network page at our homepage, and then make an inquiry to the person in-charge or Q&A page of the relevant region. We will then promptly respond to your inquiry.