South Korean tyre maker Hankook has announced expansion plans for the construction of a new truck tyre production unit in Rácalmás, Hungary. Work on the plant is set to begin during the first half of 2018, with production expected to commence by the end of 2020. The investment − which totals around 290 million euros − is the fourth for its European plant, which was initially opened in 2007. It will play a pivotal role in Hankook’s long-term strategy to cater to European market demands in both the original equipment and the replacement truck and bus tyre sector.
“As a strategic partner to many leading vehicle makers, Hankook has become well-known worldwide for its first-class technology and premium quality tyres in the car and SUV segment, and for some years in the medium and large size truck and bus segment too,” explained Han-Jun Kim, president of Hankook Europe. “Thus we have noticed a sharp increase in demand for our truck and bus tyres within the European market, and we hope to soon satisfy our customers increasing demands with the help of our new Hungarian truck and bus tyre unit.”
The Hungarian plant is a key part of Hankook’s European strategy, as it is the only production unit within the region. As such, it is responsible for catering to the needs of the continent’s tyre market. The fourth phase of the expansion is expected to reach an investment amount of around 290 million euros, creating approximately 150 new jobs and provide a production capacity of over 550 thousand medium and heavy truck and bus tyres yearly. Due to the large-scale investment, the Rácalmás factory is now among the largest employers and most significant economic players in Hungary.
Since laying down the foundation stone in July 2006, the factory has been continuously expanded and updated. Production capacity has reached more than 55 thousand tyres per day, equating to a current production capacity of up to 19 million tyres a year, offering almost 900 size and model variations for passenger cars, SUVs, vans and light trucks.
Over the past 10 years the company has also strengthened its position within the medium and large size truck and bus tyre segment in Europe. Mercedes-Benz selected Hankook in 2014 as its original tyre supplier, followed by MAN in 2015 and Scania in 2016. Since 2013 it has also been providing tyres to Schmitz Cargobull, the largest trailer manufacturer in Europe. Currently Hankook Tire is supplying the European truck tyre market mainly from one of its Korean factories. After seeing a significant and stable increase in demand over the years, the decision was made to establish a Europe-based truck and bus tyre production facility at the company’s Hungarian factory.