Sergio Álvarez
Sales Director
Hankook Tire de México
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View from the Top

Performance, Safety, Comfort

Thu, 09/01/2016 - 13:43

Q: In 2014, Inho Choi mentioned that Hankook wanted to achieve an 8 percent market share in Mexico. How has the company progressed toward that goal?

A: Hankook Tire de México surpassed that goal and reached double-digit growth in the Mexican market, after the development of new distribution points and product innovation. We foresee 10 percent market share growth in the pickup segment in 2016, coupled with 15 percent growth in the truck segment.

Product availability is essential in this industry and our warehouse in Queretaro city has allowed us to service many regional distributers who are unable to purchase entire containers from South Korea on a regular basis. The company has projected that by the end of this year, a network of between 16 and 18 Hankook Tire stores will be operating in Mexico, besides our 26 distribution centers. Our commercial relationships with Hyundai, KIA, GM, Ford and Volkswagen have strengthened our position in Mexico.

Q: Given the importance of safety and environmental aspects for Hankook, has this focus helped or hindered the company’s share in Mexico, a cost-oriented market?

A: Hankook Tire de México takes performance, safety, comfort and environmental friendliness into consideration in its innovation processes. We are committed to the environment and design our tires with this in mind. Our products are distinctly varied, as some have long-distance applications while others are intended for regional use. Almost 70 percent of Mexico’s journeys are short distances that do not reach 400km, which is taken into account in our product recommendations. Hankook Tire de México has a technical specialization area that first focuses on training distributers, while a second area centers on selling our technology. Our technicians follow up on these processes, increasing the benefits that Hankook tires offer by providing timely feedback to our clients

Q: What added value does Hankook Tire de México offer over its competitors?

A: We serve as a permanent contact point for our distributers. The accessibility that Hankook Tire de México offers clients far exceeds that of larger companies. It is not uncommon for top-level Hankook employees to help distributers directly, allowing us to channel information much faster. We have product availability and invariably stock original equipment replacements. We also send our stock portfolio to distributers at least twice a week, so that they can react better to market changes. As our market growth will be dependent on the relationships we create with OEMs, Hankook Tire de México has established agreements that grant its automotive clients with accidental damage warranties, which is innovative in our industry.

We enthuse over creating tires that optimize fuel consumption without hindering a vehicle’s performance. Low-cost Asian tire brands are locked into fierce competition but Hankook tires set themselves apart thanks to superior efficiency and fuel economy

Q: What proportion of the company’s US$6.68 billion net sales comes from the Mexican market and what is your corporate strategy to increase that number?

A: Hankook Tire de México is ranked fifth in Mexico behind Bridgestone, Michelin, Goodyear and Continental. We believe that recent events will improve our stance in the ranking by 2017. Hankook Tire’s plant in Tennessee, will positively impact our Mexican subsidiary and its operability, especially in terms of billing and response times. Our 10 percent and 15 percent growth projections hinge on additional support received from the plant. Hankook’s most economical product line, the Laufenn tire line, was also recently launched in the Mexican market in October 2015. Our Laufenn brand will undoubtedly help us attain these growth rates. This year is critical for the company if we wish to position ourselves among the six most dominant tire companies in the world.