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Hankook starts operations at Dunaújváros; first European tire plant

Hankook Tire has started production at its new €500 million ($671.7 million) production facility in Dunaújváros, Hungary. Construction at the plant began in July 2006.

The facility, which produces the Optimo K415 and Optimo K715 tires, is the company's first in Eastern Europe. The plant will produce an annual 5 million tyres for the European market in its first phase of operations, said Hankook chairman-CEO Suh Seung Hwa at an inauguration ceremony. The plant, built on an area of 110,000 square metres, currently employs 800 people, and will have a staff of 1,500 when it reaches full capacity.

Present at the ceremony was Economics Minister János Kóka who called the plant the investment of the decade. Hankook, the world's eighth-biggest tire producer, decided to expand its activities to Central and Eastern Europe and build a production facility in Hungary in October 2005. The company operates similar plants in Japan and Korea, manufacturing tyres for giant car makers such as Ford, Volvo, Renault, Volkswagen and Audi. (tmcnet.com; automotiveworld.com)