South Korea’s top tire maker Hankook Tire & Technology Co. supplies its 19-inch tires to global electric vehicle giant Tesla’s Model Y sport utility vehicles produced at the Chinese plant in Shanghai, a move that is expected to help it further enhance partnership with global EV car makers.
The Korean tiremaker’s 19-inch tires are fitted on China-made Tesla Model Y that will be shipped to global markets, except for Korea where the U.S. factory-produced Model Y will be supplied, according to industry sources on Monday.
The Model Y is the newest model by Tesla to be out in Korea since the U.S. EV giant introduced the Model 3 in August 2019. It sold more than 70,000 units in the U.S. since the launch in early last year.
The latest tire contract is expected to help enhance strategic partnership between the two companies. The Korean tire maker has been supplying tires for Tesla Model 3 since 2016.
On top of Tesla, Hankook Tire & Technology has successfully secured tire orders from other premium foreign auto brands.
The Korean company last year started supplying tires to Porsche’s all-electric Taycan, proving its design capacity and technology prowess that guarantee high fuel efficiency and auto performance. It also signed an exclusive supply deal for the world-renowned ABB FIA Formula E World Championship from the 2022/23 season.
Despite its gradual expansion in the global EV tire market, it seems to be losing ground to imported tire makers in the domestic market. The Korea Tire Manufacturers Association last month urged the government to offer policy support to bolster use of Korea-made tires at home.
Tire sales in Korea totaled 29.1 million units in 2019, of which 18.1 percent were made by foreign brands. The ratio was 8.2 percent in 2016.
Sales of Korea-made tires for new cars have been decreasing every year, taking up 32.8 percent of all in 2017 and 23.6 percent from January to October last year.
Hankook Tire & Technology shares finished unchanged at 40,050 won ($36.18) in Seoul trading on Monday.
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]