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First batch rolls from Hankook’s Hungary Plant

Hankook Tire has shipped its first batch of tires produced at the company’s maiden European manufacturing operation.

Current capacity is reportedly 1 million units, but mass production operations at the factory could be up and running in as little as six weeks. The first batch is reportedly en route to the UK and France, two of the manufacturer’s key regional markets. The tires produced are the Optimo K415 and K715, which were developed mainly for the European replacement business. Hankook Tire Executive Vice President and COO for Europe Seung-Do Jin, Hankook Tire CTO and CPO Hwi-Joong Kim together with the Hungarian plant Managing Director Eung-Young Lee wished a safe journey to the drivers of the first two trucks leaving the loading platform of the new Hankook warehouse, located next to the production facilities.

“The advancements pertaining to the completion of the tire plant are breathtaking,” explained Jin. “On June 26, the first building machine started operation. Today, only six weeks later, we are able to deliver large amounts of Hankook tires in the usual top-quality from Hungary to all over Europe. I would like to thank especially our employees here in Rácalmás for achieving this feat. Hankook tires made in Hungary should become a symbol for highest product quality on the European market, as well as highest standards of service with regard to automobile manufacturers, tire dealers and consumers.” Currently the new Hankook factory, with its 900 employees actually produces 3,300 tires on a daily basis.

By the end of the year the plant will have manufactured in excess of 1.2 million tires. For 2008, Hankook aims to increase daily production up to 15,000 tires. By 2010 the factory will have reached its full capacity, producing more than 30,000 car and light truck tires every day. More than 90% of the production is designated for export within Europe. “Hankook Tire is not only a driver of Hungarian exports, but also a job engine for the region,” adds Jin. “By doing so we justify the confidence shown by the local people as well as officials.”

“Even though we planned all processes with utmost care, it is inevitable for a project of this size, such as hiring 900 workers during a very short time span, that we had faced challenges with our assessments in some areas,” concludes Managing Director Lee, as he looks back on the time between the laying of the first stone in July 2006 and today’s delivery of the first Europe-made tires. “We are currently working very hard on suitable solutions in all fields”. (tirereview.com)