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SEMA Show, Day Three: Hankook announces OE, replacement tire plans

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Hankook Tire America Corp. continues to strengthen its domestic original equipment position. Already OE on Ford, Saturn, Pontiac, Chevrolet and, beginning six months ago, Hyundai vehicles, the company will add a Chrysler product to the mix in 2007.

"That's the only thing new that I'm aware of for the 2008 model year," said Marketing Director Bill Bainbridge.

At the replacement level, Hankook has spent the year rounding out a number of its lines. Among the tires receiving size expansions were the DynaPro MT, Hankook H727 and Ventus AS RH07. The H727 features a 100,000-mile limited tread wear warranty.

"Our fill rate has improved steadily throughout 2006, and I think we're going to be in the mid-'90s in 2007," he said.

The company also put its size 315/30R30 tire into production. Hankook is displaying its 30-inch tire at the SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) Show booth in Las Vegas.

Several new products will be introduced in 2007, including a next generation DynaPro AT "that is improved in every way," according to Bainbridge. It will be launched around the third quarter in a wide range of sizes. In addition, a new ultra-high performance tire will be showcased at the 2007 SEMA Show.

Hankook has been building brand awarness the last few years. But the marketing focus in the United States will be different starting in 2007. New dealer programs "and a new media campaign to value up the brand" will help create what Bainbridge calls "brand personality."

"We're going to do this for dealers and consumers the same way. We're going to dare them to compare."

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