Kumho mulling tyre plant in Europe by 2027; launches EnnoV EV tyre

Kumho mulling tyre plant in Europe by 2027; launches EnnoV EV tyreSouth Korean tyre maker Kumho Tire says it will invest around US$750 million in a tyre factory in Europe to meet growing demand from regional automakers. A European plant would also limit the impact of regional geopolitical tensions such as the escalating shipping crisis in the Red Sea, it adds. It did not state the location of the tyre plant but expects the plant to be built by 2027 and have a capacity of 12 million tyres/year.

The South Korean company, which was bought over by Chinese tyre maker Doublestar in 2018, is looking at selecting a location for its first Europe plant by the end of this year, with a feasibility study to also evaluate government subsidies and other local benefits.

Kumho plans initially to supply BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen group and Peugeot from its new factory.

Most European demand is currently met from Vietnam with shipments normally routed via the Red Sea.

“We are reviewing Romania, Serbia, Portugal and Turkey as potential locations for the plant,” Kumho President/CEO Il Taik Jung told The Korea Economic Daily.

He also said: “Considering factors such as the rise in logistics expenses due to the Red Sea crisis, we have decided to build a factory in Europe. We aim to begin construction next year and complete the plant by 2027.”

Kumho now has eight factories in South Korea, China, US and Vietnam with combined capacity for 63 million tyres/year.

Meanwhile, Kumho Tire also introduced its new tyre brand specifically designed for electric vehicles (EVs), to compete with rival Hankook Tire & Technology Co.

Known as EnnoV, it is the company’s latest technology since the debut of its first EV-specific tyre, the Wattrun, in 2013.

At the launch event recently, the company says it targets sales of 120,000 to 150,000 units of EnnoV in 2024 and aims to increase its market share of Original Equipment (OE) tyres for passenger cars and light trucks from approximately 9% in 2023 to over 16%.