PAPENBURG, Germany—South Korea's Kumho Tire Co. Inc. has expanded its testing capabilities in Europe, setting up a 10,750-sq.-ft. tire preparation facility at an independent proving grounds near Papenburg to help develop its position in the European market.
The facility, located at ATP Automotive Testing Papenburg GmbH in northwest Germany, will allow Kumho to improve its ability to assess subjective handling, wet-handling characteristics, aquaplaning, driving comfort, interior/exterior noise and braking, according to the tire maker.
The facility, operating under the backing of the Kumho European Technical Centre in Frankfurt, is staffed by a team of nine, Kumho said.
“The creation of this self-contained test center is another important milestone in our latest product strategy, and invaluable in terms of our research and product development for the European market,” said Sven Rath, KETC's manager of outside testing.
KETC said it tests around 3,000 tires a year to support its portfolio of original equipment contracts and new product introductions for the European aftermarket.
The ATP offers more than 25 miles of paved testing area, including a 7.6-mile high-speed oval, two 7.5-mile handling courses, a wet-handling course, etc., on a 315-acre complex.
GPS-based measurement systems and digital evaluation of the tire footprints will support tire-testing activities at Papenburg, the tire maker said. Kumho said it uses independent testing facilities in Tarragona, Spain; Nardo, Italy; Nürburgring, Germany; and Ivalo, Finland.
Kumho opened a $90 million research and development center in Yongin City, South Korea, last September that oversees all basic R&D.