NEU-ISENBURG, Germany — Hankook Tire & Technology Co. Ltd. has postponed plans to establish a $318 million truck and bus tire plant at its existing car tire factory in Rácalmás, Hungary.
The project, announced in March 2018, involved a new production unit for medium and heavy truck/bus tires, with the capacity of 550,000 units per year. The postponement does "not mean the cancellation of that plan," Hankook said in a written statement to ERJ on Oct. 2.
The current economic downturn, especially in the automotive industry, was a factor behind the decision, said Felix Kinzer, head of communications at Hankook Tire Europe. The tire maker, he added, is undergoing "mediations" with various stakeholders for future execution of the plan, which would mark the site's fourth round of expansion.
"Our company has a mid- to long-term plan for truck tire sales growth on the European continent and is reviewing various options," Mr. Kinzer said.
This, he added, "consequently leads to further reviews of all investments, especially of such with a very long-term perspective."
New technology trends, such as Industry 4.0, also are influencing investment decisions, the Hankook communications leader further pointed out.
"We want to make sure that the right decision with our investments is made to give the best results for all our stakeholders," Mr. Kinzer said.
In recent years, Hankook has won OE supply agreements with leading truck and bus brands, including Mercedes-Benz and trailer maker Schmitz Cargobull.
The company is supplying the European truck tire market mainly from one of its Korean factories.