It is the “MO” label on the tire wall that premium tire manufacturer Hankook Tire is particularly proud of, as the two letters stand for “Mercedes Original”.
Only tires with this seal of approval are approved as original equipment for a Mercedes-Benz vehicle. A tire must fulfill up to 50 criteria to meet the strict quality requirements of the Mercedes-Benz Group in terms of safety, precision and comfort.
“We are very proud to be the original equipment supplier for the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, which is considered the absolute top of the luxury segment in the global automotive industry,” says, Jeongho Park, Executive Vice President and Director of OE Division at Hankook Tire. “We see this as confirmation that our products meet the highest requirements across different markets.”
Multiple Hankook tire dimensions and types for the top model
After Hankook was already represented with a basic tire on a previous model, the premium car manufacturer has now also included Hankook as original equipment manufacturer for many different tire sizes and types following its approval for the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. For the current luxury saloon car presented in September 2020, Hankook supplies three different tire types, for summer, winter and all-season in a range of different sizes.
In the European market, the Hankook Ventus S1 evo 3 summer tires range from size 255/50 R 18 to 285/40 R 19. The Mercedes-Benz Group approved the Hankook Winter icept evo 2 in sizes 255/50 R 18 and 255/45 R 19 as winter tires for its top model. Hankook engineers were able to significantly improve the driving behaviour of both tire types with an aramid hybrid reinforcement belt.
The Hankook Winter icept evo 2 also boasts a further optimized tread stiffness, which improves handling and mileage. Moonhwa Hong, Senior Vice President and CTO of OE Development Department at Hankook Tire comments, “During the transition from the first to the second casting, we applied additional cross-braces and a lower tread depth. Narrower, lateral tread grooves and a modified contour on the second upper groove once again brought about measurable progress in terms of noise comfort”.
Runflat versions also released
With the Hankook Ventus S1 evo 3 and the Hankook Winter i*cept evo 2, the global leading tire manufacturer also meets the extreme requirements of a runflat tire and has earned the MOE seal of approval. The Mercedes-Benz Group uses the “MOE” (Mercedes Original Extended) label to designate runflat tires with reinforced sidewalls. The tires can continue to be driven at up to 80 km/h even in the event of a sudden loss of pressure. They guarantee sufficient mobility even in the event of a flat tire.
Improvements in the manufacturing process
Hankook engineers also identified potential for improvement in the manufacturing process. The all-season and winter tires in particular have benefited from a new mold release method. While the even separation of the green tire and the mold was previously ensured by eight mold sectors with almost identical angles, Hankook now uses nine or eleven sectors with different angles. The result of this is that the tires now meet the strict uniformity goals of the premium manufacturer even better than before while also boasting more harmonious rolling characteristics.