By Alex Kapadia
Hankook tyres bucked the industry trend during 2009 and saw sales soar to record heights, according to company executives.
While most of the world’s largest tyres manufacturers have reported lower sales during last year, the Korean company boomed.
Focusing on North America, the company reported that in spite of the economic recession and dramatic decline in new car sales, its tyre sales grew 8.3 percent to $844.3 million.
Soo Il Lee, one of the company’s top executives, said their US-based subsidiary anticipates the trend will continue, with sales expected to exceed $900 million in 2010 and reach $1 billion in 2011, Mr. Lee said.
Broken down, Hankook’s North American passenger tyre sales rose 5.3 percent last year to $575.2 million, while light truck tyre sales grew 26.2 percent to $159 million. Truck tyre sales improved 2.2 percent to $110.1 million.
Mr. Lee attributed the company’s success to the partnerships it has forged with its dealer network and stressed that even in the slow economy Hankook’s mission and focus remains the same: to “deliver market-driven, high-quality products that provide exceptional value for the consumer and a profitable, competitive edge to our dealers.”
Hankook also was helped in the past year by “a kind of trading down,” he said, as many consumers moved away from expensive tyres to more reasonably priced ones with good quality.
Todd Hershberger, senior vice president of sales and marketing, added: “What consumers are really looking for is value and that’s really what’s helped us in a difficult economy. That’s what we represen – a great quality product.”