"The most sure way of becoming a global tire company is to secure world-class technical prowess," said Kumho Tire CEO Kim Chang-Kyu at the facility's opening.
Kumho will "continue to strive to improve its competitive power with expansion of overseas factories and increasing OE supplies to overseas automobile makers, with the completion of the new R&D Center," he added.
The center sits on a 376,600-sq-ft. plot of land in Yongin City, in the greater Seoul metro area.
The facility will be Kumho's main R&D center in charge of all basic research and product development, the company said, and will liase with the global R&D network comprising Kumho Tire American Technical Center in Akron, Ohio; Kumho Tire Europe Technical Centre in Frankfurt, Germany; Kumho Tire China Technical Centre in Tianjin, China; and Kumho Tire Performance Center in Gwangju, Korea.
The existing Gwangju R&D Center has been transformed into a performance center for evaluation and quality monitoring of finished products, completing a two-track system to maximize R&D capabilities. The facility will be staffed by technical support personnel in charge of these quality assuring evaluations and facility operations.
Opening the new R&D Center fits with Kumho's vision to upgrade its technical capabilities and foster leading manpower for quantitative expansion and qualitative growth, according to the tire maker, leading to the development and launch of a range of "market-leading" products by 2018.
The Yongin city area is considered an automotive R&D hub — home also to the technology research institutes of Hyundai KIA Motors, Renault Samsung and Hyundai Mobis, among others, Kumho said.