‘Do not get rid of tires while they are still good’ • TTM.nl

Hankook prefers to present himself at Transport Complete in Hardenberg as a partner for carriers. “Because much more than just selling tires, we want to help carriers with the proper use of tires. We still see far too many carriers saying goodbye to their tires prematurely and thus incurring unnecessary costs. If you know what you can achieve with renewal and re-profiling, you would think twice, ”says Guy Heywood, Vice President TBR Sales & Marketing Hankook Europe and Hielke van der Scheer, Sales Director Hankooktire Holland.

In Gorinchem, at Transport Complete in September last year, we were introduced to the new SmartFlex 51 series for the first time. Just to refresh the memory: the AH51 is for the steering shaft and the DH51 is for the drive shaft. These latest additions to the SmartFlex series provide 15 and 20 percent longer life, respectively, compared to the previous models, they can be reprofiled themselves and are equipped with 3D technology. “But I want to go back to the design process first,” Heywood says. “Today we use AI for that. It means we can design digitally using a lot of data. We can design much faster, but we can also adjust indefinitely to find the right tire design. So a better design on shorter time.We compose the tread with 3D metal parts.We build the tread in several layers.In case of wear this means that there is always another layer underneath, which means that the performance is good down to the last millimeter tread.For example, when braking on wet roads or when handling turns on wet roads, the SmartFlex 51 Series is virtually unparalleled. ” The use of new techniques and materials in Hankook tires is only increasing. ”Later this year, we will introduce even more long-distance tires as well as a new segment between regional and long-distance tires and a smart tire for electric trucks. “February next year, 90 percent of our sales in less than two years will consist of sustainable tires with the latest techniques and low TCO.”

Hielke van der Scheer (left) and Guy Heywood from Hankook

Good bottle of wine

Tire renewal and re-profiling remain important to Hankook. “But not so much for us, but for the customer. If you are not looking to reuse the tape, you are throwing money away. Too right. A Hankook tire costs 400 euros. Why should you throw it away if it’s still worth the money? I always make the comparison with a good bottle of wine, let’s say the same price. You do not throw that bottle away if there is still a good glass in it, do you? It’s a shame, and so is truck tires. Hankook would like to be a partner in working with fleet owners or dealers to find out how the tires are best used. Sustainability is a top priority for us. I would rather sell 600 tires that we run on with retreading and regulation, than sell 1000 tires that are not used optimally. It’s in nobody’s interest, “said the always enthusiastic Heywood. That’s why Hankook still believes in retreading, while many other tire brands have dropped out due to the tsunami of cheap Chinese tires on the European market.” We still offer retreading because we believes in sustainability and thinks in the entrepreneur’s TCO, “Heywood emphasizes.” 7 mm extra rubber, a carcass designed for retreading. You’re not throwing it away, are you? “


To back up his words, he shows the VALObox, a digital tool that Hankook sellers bring with them and which includes a TCO calculator. Using a few simple parameters, Heywood shows that many tens of thousands, perhaps even hundreds of thousands of euros in savings are possible with renewal and re-profiling.


Hankook is convinced that it can now compete with all brands with its improved products. “We no longer need to be modest. We can measure ourselves against all other tire brands. Hankook is demonstrably better, ”says Van der Scheer. That does not change the fact that Hankook is also facing difficulties. The reduced logistics from Asia, the shortage of raw materials from Russia and Ukraine also affect them. “There are now about 145,000 tires a month, it’s a little better. But I can still sell every band that comes in twice, so there is still a shortage. At the same time, the price is rising, already about 25 percent this year. “Last year, our company withdrew about 38 percent of its profits,” explains Heywood.


Hankook is now targeting the middle and low end of the transportation market. “The KTO (small transport entrepreneur), so to speak,” says Van der Scheer. “These are companies with limited manpower for whom intensive tire management is sometimes just a step too far. Therefore, we are happy for the involvement of TLN, which can put us in touch with those companies. We also want to be a tire partner for them and help optimize tire handling. Because we already have the best tires, but entrepreneurs can get a lot for their money with the right guidance. ”

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