“On a quarterly basis the figures aren’t too bad. March year-on-year was a bit of a tough one for truck tires,” Grace told ERJ in an interview on the company’s stand at the event held 24-26 April
The Hankook manager went on to comment on that the market had been impacted by uncertainty over the impact of tariffs on Chinese imports into the EU.
“We saw a reduction in Chinese tire imports because of the way the currency went, but these imports have come back a bit in the last six months. But now because of the [tariffs] the industry is in a bit of flux.”
According to Grace, there remained uncertainty in the market about which products were liable for the tariffs and the date from which the extra charges applied to Chinese tire imports.
Looking forward, though, Grace described tariffs as “a positive step, as long as they are proportionally applied” particularly as the move will help with tire retreading.
“The retreaders have been at the sharp end of three or four years now and I am surprised that it has taken so long to get to this stage,” he commented.
Speaking just prior to the EU announcement of provisional tariffs on Chinese TBR imports, Grace said options for Hankook included moving production, for the European TBR market, from China to Korea.
The company, he further pointed out, will open a new TBR manufacturing facility in Hungary in two years’ time.