SEOUL, South Korea (Jan. 15, 2004) — Hankook Tire Co. Ltd.'s sales in North America jumped 30 percent last year, to about $250 million, buoyed by rising demand for ultra-high-performance tires, the company's top executive said recently.
The North American sales performance was part of an overall jump in export sales, Hankook said, to more than $700 million. In all, the company exported 20 million tires in 2003, according to President Cho Choon-hwan, who said performance tire sales rose 59 percent.
In addition to increased export sales, Hankook was able to increase prices of its products in export markets, helping improve the bottom line. The company more than doubled operating income for the first nine months of 2003 to nearly $42 million, while net income jumped 50 percent to $29.2 million. Sales rose to $1 billion.
For the current year and beyond, Hankook will “engage in diverse global marketing activities…to further boost our export competitiveness,” Mr. Cho said.
Hankook also increased its supply of original equipment tires to major vehicle makers overseas, including Ford Motor Co. and Ford's Volvo unit, Daihatsu Motor Co. Ltd., Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Volkswagen A.G.