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Date 06/26/2007 Hits66,274

Category Corporate

Production Begins at Hankook Tire’s €500 Million European Facility

Production Begins at Hankook Tire’s €500 Million European Facility

- Less than 1 year from groundbreaking to production
- Independently acclaimed and environmentally commended Optimo K715 rolls off production line
- €500 million investment expected to create 1,500 jobs by 2010

SEOUL, JUNE 27th 2007 - Hankook Tire (, one of the fastest growing tire manufacturers in the world*, announced today that it has started production at its new €500 million European production facility in Dunaujvaros, Hungary.  It is the company’s first production facility in Europe and its fifth in the world and will help achieve Hankook Tire’s plan to double its market share in Europe to 8% by 2010.

At the official launch ceremony in Hungary on June 26th, Hankook Tire’s first tire made by Europeans for Europeans – the highly praised and environmentally commended Optimo K715 – rolled off the production line.  It was signed by the company’s global CEO, Seung Hwa Suh, the Hungarian Minister of Economy and Transport, Janos Koka, and Eom Seock Jeong, the Korean Ambassador in Hungary. They were accompanied by Hankook Tire executives and local officials including Andras Kalman and Istvan Schrick the mayors of Dunaujvaros and Racalmas, respectively, regions in which the Hankook Tire investment will boost the local economy.  The facility is expected to create 1,500 jobs by the time it is fully operational in 2010.

Highlighting the significance of the investment, Mr. Suh said, “Dunaujvaros’s strategic location in the heart of Europe will help capitalize on the growing demand from European customers for our products. The new facility will give a strong boost to our competitiveness by slashing logistics costs and improving our customer service. The shipping time of our product will be reduced from what used to be a minimum of one month’s delivery time to delivery within five days to all locations across Europe.”

One of the largest ever foreign direct investments in Hungary has been characterized by fast and efficient development.  Mr. Suh added, “It has taken less than a year from the ground breaking ceremony to the historic production of our first European-made tire for the European market.  This success is built on the strong relationships we have built with partners throughout Hungary – partnerships that will help us continue to grow hand-in-hand with the Hungarian economy.”


The official opening ceremony marks the completion of the first phase of the €500 million project.  The plant will be fully operational in 2010 and will produce 10 million tires annually.  In terms of employment:

•To date 810 people are employed at the facility;
•When in full operation it will employ 1500 staff, 23% of which will be high skilled workers such as engineers and technicians;
•350 operators and engineers have undergone training in Korea over the last 3 to 6 months.

The production facility will start producing Optimo K415 and Optimo K715 tires. Stiftung Warentest, the leading German consumer safety group, recognised the Optimo K715 as the most environmentally friendly in its class earlier this year. As well as being graded second in its class overall, Stiftung Warentest highlighted the Optimo K715 in particular for its very low rolling resistance and for having the lowest harmful substance content (Polcyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon) of all the tires tested.  The silica compound technology used in the tire provides increased fuel efficiency as well as allowing for greater handling and breaking conditions.  ZDF TV, the second largest national TV network in Germany, also recently picked out the Optimo K715 as the ‘best-buy’ amongst recommended and competing tires.

Overseas sales account for approximately 70% of Hankook Tire’s business.  As the reputation of Hankook Tire tires increases in Europe, sales in that market in the first quarter of 2007 grew by 23%.  Global sales increased by 14.6% and sales of ultra-high performance (UHP) tires grew by 21%, reflecting increased global recognition of Hankook Tire’s technology and brand.  Hankook Tire recently became the seventh largest tire manufacturer in the world.

Hankook Tire was also represented at the official opening ceremony by the global Chief Marketing Officer, Hyun Shick Cho, the Executive Vice-President and COO for Europe, Seung Do Jin, and the Vice-President and Managing Director of the Hungary plant, Eung Young Lee.


* According to Modern Tire Dealer (Jan. 2007), Hankook Tire’s 20% growth rate was the joint highest of all top eleven global tire manufactures



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