Korea’s Hankook gets Ford F-150 deal

LAS VEGAS – South Korea tire maker Hankook Tire Co. Ltd. didn’t start small when it landed its first U.S. original-equipment supply contract. The company signed a deal with Ford Motor Co. to supply tires for its redesigned Ford F-150 pickup. Hankook's the all-terrain DynaPro AT and all-season DynaPro AS will be the only 17-in. tire options available of the F-150. J.W. Choi, Hankook Tire America Corp. president & CEO, told Ward’s that the contract is worth 500,000-600,000 tires annually. Hankook executives said that the deal had been in development for more than three years, which is well before the tire scandal between Ford and Firestone Corp. began. “Developing OE partnerships will be the cornerstone of our success here in the U.S.,” says Bill Bainbridge, Hankook Tire marketing director. Hankook currently produces 44 million tires a year. Worldwide sales are projected to reach $1.6 billion this year, which would be a 69% rise from 1998, while U.S. sales are forecast at $250 million, which would be up 83% in the same period.

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