Laufenn -- not the Hankook brand -- took center stage at the 2017 SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) Show in Las Vegas. The brand and five lines were on display at the Global Tire Expo, which runs in conjunction with and as part of the SEMA Show through Friday, Nov. 3, in Las Vegas.
Hosung Suh, president of Hankook Tire America Corp., told Modern Tire Dealer the company will continue to focus on improving brand awareness for both the Laufenn and Hankook brands. Working closely with its tire dealer base, including wholesalers, is part of that strategy.
Sooman Choi, the company's vice president, said although no new tread patterns are planned for the coming year, close to 60 new sizes will be added to the Laufenn lineup in 2018, with a heavy emphasis on larger sizes, including 20-inch sizes. Some will be introduced by the second quarter; others will be introduced in the third quarter. Choi said some of those sizes will be produced in Hankook's new consumer tire plant in Clarksville, Tenn.
Also in 2018, Hankook plans to continue leveraging its association with teams in both Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association. The company advertises the Hankook brand in 27 MLB stadiums and nine NBA arenas, and may increase those numbers.
"Sports marketing is one of our key strategies to (improve) our brand awareness," said Choi. Hankook also is on the lookout for motorsports opportunities that will showcase the quality of Hankook tires. Robert Dole is Hankook's new motorsports manager.
Hankook is looking at locations for a sixth distribution center in the U.S. The company already has DC's in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New Jersey, and Savannah, Georgia. "We're trying to improve our logistics services," said Choi.