YONGIN CITY, South KoreaKumho Tire Co. Inc. has opened a $90 million research and development center in Yongin City, where it will house about 600 R&D personnel from South Korea and abroad.
Kumho first broke ground on the 246,575-sq.-ft. facility in May 2008, with a projected finishing date of year-end 2009.
Kumho said the delay was due to the constraints caused by the company's workout program related to fiscal losses by parent company Kumho Asiana Corp. and subsequent restructuring.
The new center houses industry-leading supercomputers, physical testing equipment, chemical and instrumental analysis equipment, performance research equipment and other, associated resources, Kumho said, shared in separate research and testing buildings.
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, South 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, the tire maker said, 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 hubhome also to the technology research institutes of Hyundai KIA Motors, Renault Samsung and Hyundai Mobis, among others, Kumho said.