Saturday, 03 September 2011 00:00
Dealing with environment-conscious tire buyers
The Jakarta Post | Sat, 09/03/2011 11:38 AM
South Korea-based Hankook Tire, the world’s seventh-largest tire maker, is serious about its investment plan to build a regional production hub in Indonesia before entering the local market. The Jakarta Post’s Bagus BT Saragih was invited recently to visit Hankook Tire’s facilities in South Korea. Here is his report.
Going green is big these days and it should be. As more people are concerned about being environmentally friendly by demanding green products, more pressure is being felt by tire producers to develop and sell more ecofriendly products.
If they fail to follow this trend, they may be gradually left behind.
“All ecofriendly products have become trends today. We have been spending more of our resources to develop environmentally friendly tire products,” said Seung Bin Lim, Hankook’s vice president for marketing strategy.
Developing ecofriendly tires is costly and might lead to higher prices. So, the basic challenge for tire makers is how to produce inexpensive yet energy-efficient tires, without compromising on quality, despite having to utilise different basic materials.
Producing ecofriendly tires basically focuses on two things: using fewer petroleum-based materials, and creating low rolling resistance. Low rolling resistance means less energy is used to overcome friction between the tire and the road surface, resulting in less fuel consumption and better gas mileage.
While consumers will save money by using less fuel, the environment will also benefit, as every gallon of fuel saved by an ecofriendly tire translates into approximately 20 fewer pounds of CO2 released into the atmosphere, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, and improving energy security.
The world’s top tire producers began to develop “green” tires years ago.
Indonesian tire maker Gajah Tunggal, for example, has its GT Radial Champiro ECO and Champiro HPY, which use nanotech silica to replace the environmentally unfriendly carbon black.
Japanese tire maker Yokohama offers the dB Super E-specTM, which is composed of 80 percent non-petroleum based materials.
South Korea’s Hankook, which is eying 25 percent of the Indonesian market in the next five years, offers its enfren and Optimo 4S tires. Both products won awards at the iF Product Design Awards 2009 in Hannover, Germany.
Hankook claims that enfren, which uses a leaf-shaped tread pattern design, has 21 percent lower rolling resistance and improves fuel economy by 2 percent. The Optimo 4S, meanwhile, is claimed as the world’s most economical all-season tire.
“If a car is driven 25,000 km a year, and averages 10 km/liter, the driver can actually save 150 liters of oil, or approximately 165,000 Won (US$153), if the car is equipped with enfren. In addition, cars that are macroscopically equipped with enfren can lessen their CO2 emissions by 308kg per year, which is equal to the amount of carbon dioxide that 55 trees absorb per year,” Hankook claimed at the launch of enfren in 2008.
Hankook has its “Kontrol Technology” program to develop tires that fulfill four criteria: performance, safety, comfort, and environmental considerations. With about 5 percent of its annual revenue spent on the program, Hankook pledges to continue developing “greener” tires.
Place Ad Code Here