Hankook tire exec calls for global campaign to point out dangers of low tire pressureThu, 23 Sep 2010 00:00:00 -0700
Anyone driving a car today has certainly heard about the dangers of drinking and driving, and the use of a cell phone and texting while driving. Seung Hwa Suh, vice chairman and CEO of Hankook tires, is hoping more drivers will pay attention to the dangers of low tire pressure and driving.
At The Tire Society's 29th Annual Meeting and Conference on Tire Science and Technology, Suh proposed that all tire manufacturers "jointly develop a global campaign for educating consumers about air pressure and the overwhelming benefits that we can all enjoy if we simply maintain proper inflation," he said.
Suh, who came from his home in Korea to Akron, Ohio, to deliver the keynote address to the tire group, quoted a June survey by the Rubber Manufacturers Association showing that millions of drivers in the United States alone waste gas and risk tire failures by failing to properly inflate their tires.
"The survey reported that only one in six vehicles had properly inflated tires and 55 percent of all vehicles had at least one under-inflated tire," Suh said.
"I believe that tire manufacturers share a crucial responsibility in educating consumers about proper care and maintenance of their tires. Low air pressure degrades performance endangers vehicle occupants and harms the environment."
In a press conference following his address, Suh noted that in Korea, Hankook offers a free service of checking tire pressure and inflating low tires at various places around the country around holidays, where people are taking to the roads in large numbers.
"Proper inflation looks very simple," he said. "And it is very important for everyone's safety."
Suh said his company spends 5 percent of its total revenue on research and development annually, a figure that remained even during the economic downturn. "Our ability to grow has been driven by our continuous investment in the research and development. Performance and quality are the ultimate demonstration of technical competence," he said.
Hankook Tires, founded in 1941, is the seventh-largest tire manufacturer in the world producing about 80 million tires annually from five factories, employing 15,000 people. The tires are sold in 186 countries worldwide.
Suh has been with Hankook since 1973. He became CEO in 2007 and added the title of vice chairman two years later.
By Roger Hart