RÃ¡calmÃ¡s, Hungary - The first tyres are rolling off the production line of a new unit at Hankook Tire's RÃ¡calmÃ¡s plant, built as part of the second-phase investment there of Euro 230 million ($310 million). In line with the dynamic growth of the company, the Korean firm says its Hankook Tire Hungary subsidiary is also hiring 700 new employees during 2010 and 2011.
According to the firm's 17 Nov announcement, the new 58 000-m2 unit will reach its full capacity by the second half of 2011 when it will be able to produce a further 16-17 000 tyres a day, taking daily production there to 34-35 000 units, up to 12 million tyres a year.
Hankook Tire, claiming to be the seventh largest and one of the fastest-growing tyre companies in the world, says the start up was well ahead of its target date, noting that the new unit's construction only started in September 2009.
The South Korean firm adds that demand for its tyres has been growing steadily and dynamically all over the world, particularly in Europe. This prompted the firm's latest investment, which brings total investment at its new European production site in Hungary to Euro 550 million.
Hankook says it will work with the Hungarian Labour Office to help recruit and train staff for the plant. A government-accredited tyre-manufacturing training course will help Hankook educate the next generation of rubber professionals, in order to build the required skilled-worker base, its statement explained. Upon completion of the course all participants will automatically qualify for employment by Hankook Tire, the statement added.
â€œThanks to the expanding investment in our ultra-modern factory in Hungary we can satisfy our customer base at an increased level within the growing European market, enabling us to set the highest quality standardsâ€, said Sang II Lee, managing director of Hankook Tire Hungary Ltd, in the firm's announcement.
"We are glad that the construction and preparations for the new production unit remain on track, allowing us to commence operations sooner than planned," he added.
The Hankook statement added that, in response to the increasing demand for winter tyres this season and the overall shortfall in these products in the market, the new unit is currently focused on manufacturing winter- and all-season tyres.
The plant's production portfolio includes the most popular Hankook Winter Icebear W440 tyre, which received a 'highly recommendable' award from the German automobile club ADAC. The succesful Hankook Optimo 4S, the three-times champion of Germany's biggest car magazine, Auto Bild, will also be produced at the site.
With growing demand from its OE and replacement market customers in Europe and the CIS region, the new production unit will play a key role in Hankook's future strategy on the continent, especially in manufacturing ultra-high-performance (UHP) passenger car tyres, and run-flat tyres, for which the new production unit is equipped with cutting-edge technology.
Once full capacity is achieved later next year, the Hankook Tire plant in RÃ¡calmÃ¡s will further increase its present product range of more than 500 different specifications, Hankook's statement concluded.
Hankook Tire's European headquarters are in Neu-Isenburg near Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Its Hungarian unit started operation in June 2007 and more than 1300 employees there produce more than 15 000 tyres a day (more than five million tyres a year) for passenger cars, SUVs and light trucks in more than 300 different sizes. The state-of-the-art facility produces customised products and original equipment tyres for the European market in line with the specifications of leading European automobile manufacturers, Hankook added.
Worldwide, Hankook Tire employs more than 14 000 employees and sells its products in more than 180 countries, with about 70 percent of sales being outside Korea.
The company says it invests about five percent of its revenues in research and development every year, with labs in Korea, Germany, USA, China and Japan developing the very latest in market-specific, customised and innovative technologies.