KOREA (SOUTH): Hankook Tire to supply tires to Mercedes-Benz

Following previous deals with Audi in 2006 and BMW in 2011, the company now provides tire products to all of the so-called German "big three” for the first time as a Korean tire maker.

"We would cover about 10 to 15 percent of the total S-Class production,” said president Cho Hyun-sik at a press conference held at a Seoul hotel on Monday. He declined to further elaborate on the specific numbers.

Hankook, which has secured supply deals with 24 global carmakers thus far, said the new deal with Mercedes-Benz would elevate its sales momentum both in general and premium car segments.

The company also hinted at building its first production plant in the United States, saying that related negotiations were underway with three U.S. states: Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee.

"Production capacity at the new plant would be around 5 million to 10 million tires per year. We are finalizing the deal on geographical conditions and tax benefits,” said CEO Suh Seung-hwa.

Hankook currently operates two plants in Korea, three in China, one in Hungary and one in Indonesia. Its total global output is expected to reach the 100 million-tire mark by 2014, it said.Source: Daily "The Korea Herald", Seoul; 2 Sept 2013
(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)