The Korea Herald


Hankook Tire speeds up Chinese expansion

Korean tire manufacturer inks supply contract with Chinese EV maker Leapmotor

By Kan Hyeong-woo

Published : April 24, 2023 - 14:08

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Chinese electric vehicle maker Leapmotor's C11 equipped with Hankook Tire & Technology's Ventus S1 evo3 ev (Hankook Tire & Technology Chinese electric vehicle maker Leapmotor's C11 equipped with Hankook Tire & Technology's Ventus S1 evo3 ev (Hankook Tire & Technology

Hankook Tire & Technology said Monday that the South Korean tire maker inked a supply contract with Chinese all-electric vehicle manufacturer Leapmotor, expanding the company’s presence in one of the world’s biggest EV markets.

According to the Korean company’s announcement, Leapmotor’s sports utility vehicle C11 will be equipped with Hankook Tire’s Ventus S1 evo3 ev, a high-performance tire specifically designed for EVs.

The EV-tailored tire offers optimized functions to maximize the driving, efficiency and handling of EVs, Hankook Tire said. The same product has been supplied to world-leading carmakers’ EV lineups such as Volkswagen’s ID.4 and ID.Buzz, Porsche’s Taycan, Audi’s e-tron GT and Skoda’s Enyaq iV.

C11 has a maximum driving distance of 650 kilometers per charge under the standards of China’s Light-Duty Vehicle Test Cycle. Established in 2015, Leapmotor went public on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in September 2022. The EV producer’s market capitalization stood at $5.3 billion as of Monday's closing.

Based on the supply deal for C11, Hankook Tire & Technology and Leapmotor said the two sides plan to strengthen their strategic partnership by conducting core projects together moving forward. The Korean tire maker said the partnership will serve as a chance to showcase its EV-customized technology and spread the brand’s premium image in China.

According to market tracker SNE Research, over 6 million EVs were sold only in China while there were about 10 million EVs sold across the world in 2022. The Chinese EV market increased by 97.1 percent on year, topping all other countries by a wide margin.

“With China being one of the largest EV markets in the world, we are looking to continue expanding our presence in the country’s EV tire sector,” said an official at Hankook Tire & Technology.

The Korean tire maker is currently supplying tires to a number of EV models in China, including Chinese EV maker NIO’s ES5 and ES6 as well as Japanese automaker Toyota’s EV bZ4X.

Hankook Tire & Technology, which posts over 85 percent of total sales in the overseas market as it sells tires in about 160 countries, was the seventh tire manufacturer in the world as of July 2022, according to British tire magazine Tyrepress’ analysis of global leaders in the industry.