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Who Makes Hankook Tires?
Hankook Tire is a South Korean tire company and tire brand that was founded in 1941 by Cho-Hong-je. The company was originally called the Chosun Tire Company, but renamed to Hankook Tires in the 1960s.
Hankook means Korea, so the official translation of Hankook Tire is Korea Tire. The tire company is one of the largest tire manufacturers in the world.
The company makes tires for a wide variety of vehicles such as passenger cars, SUV’s, light trucks, buses, and other types of automobiles like tractors. Hankook is the official tire supplier for Mercedes S-Class vehicles.
The growth of Hankook coincides with the growth of Korea's economy after the Korean war. Resources were sparse, but Korea and Hankook Tire manufacturing grew hand in hand.
As Korea became well versed in the manufacturing industry, Hankook became a powerhouse in developing manufacturing technologies that lead to it becoming the tire manufacturer it is today.
Hankook became the first company to offer tubeless and radial tires in Korea. Hankook tires started offering tubeless tires just as Korea finished building its first highway system.
In the 1980’s, The company started exporting tires to the United States and other Western Countries.
In the 1990’s, Hankook Tire started getting contracts with major vehicle manufacturers like Voltswaggen to supply all their shipped vehicles with Hankook tires. Hankook sells brake pads today as well.
Corporate Structure Of Hankook Tire
The Hankook Tire company is a publicly traded company. This means that the company has a board of directors and an executive management team.
The Executive Directors are Hyunbeom Cho, Sooil Lee, and Jongho Park.
According to Forbes.com, the Cho family has a controlling interest in Hankook tires. The Cho family also holds interest in other fields such as construction and technology through another company called the Hyosung Corporation.
Cho Hang-Jai took over a ruined tire company in the 1950’s and turned it into what is Hankook Tire technology today.
One of Hang-Jai’s earliest ventures was a construction endeavor where he partnered with Samsung founder Lee Byung-Chull.
Hang-Jai’s two sons both control the companies he founded, Hankook and the Hyosung Corporation. And both sons are under investigation for tax fraud and embezzlement.
Hankook is divided into two companies, a holding company, and an operating entity. A holding company is a company created to buy and possess the shares of other companies, which it then controls.
Cho Yang-Rai, who is the Hankook’s founder’s son, is the holding company's chairman. Hankooks CEO is Cho Yang Rai’s eldest son.
Cho Yang Rai’s brother Cho Seok-Rae was sentenced to three years in prison for tax evasion. The holding company that runs the Hankook Tire technology operating entity is called the Cho Hung-jin Foundation.
Not only does it manage the Cho’s family controlling interests in Hankook tires, it also controls other assets the family manages. The Cho Hung-jin foundation is a private company and not publicly traded.
Hankook Tire Locations
Hankook Tire’s first location was built in Korea, but have expanded across the globe since their inception.
Hankook Tire operates all throughout the globe with offices and manufacturing facilities in China, Hungary, and The United States.
The United States headquarters for Hankook is based in Clarksville, Tennessee, which has been home to the North American Hankook headquarters since 2016.
Hankook in Tennessee employs roughly 2,300 people across Tennessee and beyond. Hankook tires has a research facility located in Deajon, South Korea that was recently opened. The company built the technodome to attract top tier careerists to join their team.
The research and development facility has six floors, residency for employees, and high end tire testing equipment like a suspension parameter measuring machine.
Hankook Tire has a plant in China called the Chongqing plant. The Chongqing plant was awarded the National Green Factory award in March of 2022.
Putting Hankook Tires On Your Vehicle
As a mechanic, when customers put a Hankook product on their passenger cars or light trucks, you can be sure the customer has matched quality with price. I get the question a lot, are Hankook Tires good? Hankook tires are mid grade tires that come with a mid grade price tag.
The tires are decently made and stand up to normal wear and tear very well. They are made with quality materials and have tires that can meet all your needs from winter tires to low profile tires.
I personally have always found a good quality test for tires is when I put them on the vehicle is how well the side walls catch air.
And the sidewalls on a Hankook are stiff and reliable compared to other mid range tires.
In the mid-range price of tires, Hankook is about the highest quality you can get for your vehicles.
Hankook also has high end tires for high end passenger cars like Mercedes, but the majority of their tire sales come from mid range priced tires.
Some of Hankook’s top selling, popular Hankook tires are the Kinergy ST, Ventus S1, and Dynapro.
These tires are very popular in our shop and sell fairly regularly compared to Primewells, Michelin tires, and other popular tire brands.
Should You Pull The Trigger On Hankook Tires?
Absolutely. Lots of people ask themselves, ‘are Hankook tires good enough?’ Well, Just because the tires are not as popular as other brands doesn’t mean you can’t get a good life out of a Hankook tire.
In fact, I think Hankook beats its competitors in some areas such as price per feature. While Hankook tires do get some negative reviews on the length of their tread life, this doesn’t mean the company's tires as a whole are junk.
I think Hankooks tires are underrated because they don’t have a big marketing presence in the United States like Michelin Tires or Firestone, therefore they don't sell as well.
But in the tire shops, Hankooks are always a top selling company for tires since they are durable, reliable, and cost effective. Compared to other brands, their prices are good, and their tires are good quality.
You can be sure your money is well spent when you purchase Hankook tires. I’ve never met a customer who has returned a set of Hankook tires or has complained about issues such as too noisy, or excess vibrations.
Hankooks are sort of a set it and forget it type of deal when it comes to mounting on your vehicle.
If you are having doubts between purchasing Hankooks versus purchasing tires that you normally do, you might be pleasantly surprised if you do pull the trigger and purchase a set of
There will probably be no decrease in ride quality, and there might even be a noticeable increase.
About The Author
Christopher Sparks has been servicing vehicles since 2012. After completing the automotive studies program at Camden County College, he was awarded an Associates's Degree in Applied Science. His first job was a lube-tech at Jiffy Lube, and is currently an independent B-Technician servicing vehicles for the United States Postal Service. Christopher is ASE certified and loves rebuilding engines.Read more about Christopher Sparks