By Maeil Business News Korea
South Korean tire maker Hankook Tire Co. was selected as original equipment (OE) supplier for German automaker Audi’s sport-utility vehicles Q7 and SQ7, the company said. With this deal, Hankook Tire became the first Korean tire manufacturer to supply OE tires to three German household car brands BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi.
The new order of tires is expected to solidify Hankook Tire’s presence in a fast growing global tire market for SUV vehicles. Audi has been looking for a new tire supplier for its flagship SUV models – Q7 and SQ7 priced over 100 million won ($ 85,711) – since May. With luxury brands including Bentley and Maserati joining the luxury SUV market, Audi has demanded grace and weight fit to run luxury sedans from tire bidders.
Hankook Tire applied sound absorber technology that can reduce road noise by over 5dB to its Ventus S1 evo2 SUV to be installed on the Audi’s Q7 and SQ7. The tire features a sound-absorbing polyurethane foam sheet bonded to the inside of the tire and drivers can feel that the noise is reduced by 50 percent, deputy general manager Kim Dong-soo said.
The tire manufacturer has been keen on the premium SUV market. Its clients include luxury models including BMW’s X5 and X6, Mercedes Benz GLC and Lincoln MKX.
Hankook Tire posted 864 billion won in operating profit during the July-September period this year, up 33 percent from 645.8 billion over the same period last year. The company is expected to achieve 1 trillion won in operating profit, a target set by the company at the beginning of this year. Hankook Tire which opened its research and development center called Hankook Technodome in the central city of Daejeon in October will continue efforts to develop optimized tires that can fit into various models including electric cars and performance cars.