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 firm's top executive is quoted as saying.
The North American sales performance was part of an overall jump in export sales to more than $700 million, Hankook said in a financial news report posted on its Web site. In all, the firm 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 report said. 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 its Volvo unit, Daihatsu Motor Co. Ltd., Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Volkswagen A.G.