As the South Korean company aims to join the ranks of the top five global tyremakers, Hankook is considering building its first U.S. plant in a move to bolster its presence in the world’s second-largest car market.

At the moment, the company is the world’s seventh largest by sales, with a strong presence in emerging markets including China, the world’s largest car market, where it is the biggest manufacturer with a 15% market share.

Being the official supplier to the famous DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Master) and ambitions to become the supplier for Formula 1 as well, Hankook has been trying to narrow the gap with bigger rivals like Michelin and Bridgestone in developed markets via upgraded brand value and motorsports marketing.

“We are in talks with three US states – Tennessee, South Carolina and Georgia – to build a plant and we will decide the final site by the end of this year,” Cho Hyun-shick, the company’s president in charge of overseas expansion, said yesterday.

The US is Hankook’s third-largest market after China and Europe. The company controls 5 per cent of the market for replacement tyres and 7-8 per cent of originally equipped tyres in the US. The new plant will have an annual production capacity of 5m-10m units, according to Mr Cho.

Via Financial Times


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