RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. (Feb. 12) — Hankook Tire America Corp.'s sales grew 22 percent in 2006 to $613 million as the company posted gains in tire sales and market share, the tire maker's new president told about 80 dealers attending the firm's Dare to Compare dealer meeting Feb. 8 in Rancho Mirage.
Greg Pae, who became president Dec. 1, attributed much of the company's success last year to its independent tire dealers. The strong showing came despite the industry's sluggish performance in both original equipment and replacement sales in North America.
In a speech to dealers, Pae said Hankook also reported sales of $77 million in Canada in 2006, bringing the company's total North American sales to more than $690 million.
For 2007, Pae forecast U.S. sales topping $672 million. Worldwide, he predicted the company´s sales would reach $3.6 billion, up from $2.95 billion in 2006. The 2006 total, he said, places Hankook in a tie with Japan's Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. as the world's seventh largest tire maker.
Hankook is committed to investing in manufacturing and technology, Pae told dealers. The company's new factory in Hungary is expected to come on stream later this year and produce a total of 1.3 million units of radial passenger, light truck and truck and bus tires in 2007.
In 2008, the factory's output is expected to rise to 5 million units, with output reaching more than 10 million units by 2011. This additional capacity will boost the company's total production to more than 68 million units by 2008 and to more than 75 million units by 2010.