Hankook Focuses on LT Tire Market With Two New Releases
Hankook Tire America Corp. is extending its lineup of tires for off-roading enthusiasts with two new products, including the company’s first rugged-terrain tire, the Dynapro XT.
The Dynapro XT comes in 30 sizes, while Hankook’s newest all-terrain tire, the Dynapro AT2 Xtreme, is debuting with 32 sizes.
Curtis Brison, vice president of passenger and light truck tire sales for Hankook, says the dual tire launch shows the tiremaker’s commitment to the category.
“We've always had our eye on this marketplace,” Brison tells MTD. “Hankook is taking the light truck category seriously in the U.S. We dedicate a lot of research and development to this marketplace.”
He says the company sees a lot of opportunity in the RT and AT markets.
“We think the growth’s going to continue. Seventy-two percent of new cars sold are SUVs and pickup trucks with fitments of 18 inch (or larger.) OE is driving it, and this category has enthusiasts who take their vehicles and vehicle performance very seriously. They are investing in their vehicle in all aspects, and the tire is no exception.
“We wanted to have a very strong, technical product that looks great, that performs great (and) that the consumer can trust to put on one of their biggest investments, which is their light truck,” Brison says. “We see that trend continuing, and we’re here to serve it.”
The Dynapro XT is made with rigid polygonal blocks and wide zig-zag grooves, which offer both off-road traction and an aggressive sidewall design. That sidewall is protected against punctures, and the tire also bears the 3-Peak Mountain Snowflake rating, making it useful in winter conditions. The tire’s tread pattern and edges offer a quiet, comfortable ride. Shoulder block cushions absorb noise from the road.
All-terrain tire refresh
The Dynapro AT2 Xtreme succeeds the Dynapro AT2. The new version features a more aggressive shoulder design, plus enhanced noise reduction. The tire also carries a longer mileage warranty — 60,000 miles.
The sidewall blocks and shoulder scoops provide more off-road traction; they also help to prevent cuts and abrasions. The tire’s multi-directional grooves and sipes provided more traction in wet and snow conditions, and the Dynapro AT2 Xtreme is also 3-Peak Mountain Snowflake rated.
Hankook will continue adding sizes to the Dynapro AT2 Xtreme until it reaches 98 sizes in 2022.
Supply chain update
Brison says both of the new tires are being built in multiple factories — and that the production is fairly well balanced between Hankook plants in Korea, Indonesia and in Tennessee.
The good news is Hankook has abundant capacity to produce the new tires. A global supply chain crisis continues to spell bad news for not just tiremakers, but manufacturers of any good that relies on worldwide production.
“We’re just doing our very best to try to serve our customers in the best way possible. We’re trying to be collaborative and trying to be as communicative with our customers as we can be,” Brison says. “Everyone understands the situation we’re in right now, so we’re focusing on communication (and) making sure that we’re being proactive where we can be.
“The good news for Hankook is we have plenty of production capacity. The challenge is transportation. The challenge is the lead time, and the challenge is even finding the containers when it’s coming from Asian countries. We’re working through the challenges as best we can.”
He hesitated to say whether there’s an average lead time for products coming into the U.S., in part because it can vary so significantly for dealers on the West Coast or East Coast.
“It’s really hard to average right now. In many cases when we look through our supply pipeline, there may be a lot of product sitting there, but it’s literally sitting on a boat or it’s sitting in a railroad or it’s sitting in a container yard. It’s difficult to know when you can get the driver or the transportation to get that product to our customer.
“It’s pretty day-to-day, and it’s pretty difficult right now,” Brison says.
As for when the situation might improve, there’s no firm answer.
“We just don’t know. I think it’s well into next year,” he says. “Right now we’re seeing excellent consumer demand. Even if that changes, inventories are so low, there’s going to be a period of replenishing inventories regardless of what happens to consumer demand. It’s going to be challenging well into next year.”