WAYNE, N.J. (March 3)—Hankook Tire America Corp. is counting on expanded production capacity at Hankook Tire Co. Ltd. plants in China to help it keep dealers in North America well stocked as the firm builds on a record sales performance in 2003.
While declining to make specific projections for 2004, Hankook "is off to a banner start" this year, according to Bill Bainbridge, marketing director for the U.S. sales company. Last year Hankook Tire's sales in the U.S. grew 19 percent to $250 million.
Hankook is in the midst of expansion projects at its two facilities in China, adding 3.8 million units of annual radial tire capacity at its Hankook Tire (Jiaxing) Co. Ltd. factory by year-end 2005 and 2.45 million units of annual capacity by 2007 at its Jiangsu Hankook Tire Co. Ltd. bias-ply and radial tire plant.
Helping to boost sales this year will be Hankook's new original equipment contracts with Ford Motor Co. for the F-150 pickup and Econoline vans. These OE deals help boost the image of the Hankook brand in consumers' minds, Bainbridge said.