ERJ staff report (TB)
Hannover,Germany -- Hankook Tire Co. Ltd. has moved its Europe Technical Centre (ETC) to a purpose-built facility in Hannover and disclosed plans to add rubber mixing capacity to its car and light truck tyre plant in Hungary.
In Germany, Hankook has moved its European R&D team of 45 engineers and tyre specialists into facilities in Hannover that offer 70 percent more space than the offices being vacated, although Hankook did not provide the size of either not say what it invested in the new technical center.
"The new location and additional capacitiesâ€¦are in line with the continuous growth Hankook sees in Europe," according to Stefan Fischer, head of the ETC, who added, "The steadily increasing numbers of development projects for the European original equipment and replacement market ask for a corresponding expansion of development capacities."
Mr. Fischer called the decision to build new facilities in Hannover a "decisive step in our long-term expansion strategy.â€¦"
Hankook established the ETC in 1997 in Langenhagen, Germany, just north of Hannover.
The focal point of the ETC is the development of OE tyres for passenger cars, SUVs and light trucks. Hankook said its OE presence with leading European car makers such as Audi A.G., BMW A.G., Ford Europe and Volkswagen A.G. is evidence of the growing recognition Hankook enjoys among car makers.
The new facilities feature a photovoltaic system on the roof, allowing for CO2-neutral operations.
In Hungary, Hankook is investing $11.2 million to expand rubber compounding capacity at the RÃ¡calmÃ¡s plant to increase the factory's effectiveness.
The investment will cover the installation of a compound mixing unit and related buildings to strengthen production processes, Hankook said, especially in the first stage of manufacturing. The installation should be completed in the second half of 2013.
The plant, which came on stream in 2009, employs 2,200 and produces 34,000 tyres a day in hundreds of different specifications. Hankook did not say how the additional mixing capacity would affect tyre manufacturing capacity.
The extension will be realised in the framework of the Economic Development Operational Program of the Hungarian Government supported by the European Regional Development Fund, Hankook said, allowing further technological developments resulting in the creation of an undisclosed number of additional jobs.
From Tire Business (A Crain publication)