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Hankook carries momentum into 2004

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Hankook Tire America Corp. enjoyed one of the strongest 12-month sales periods in its history in 2003. Increased supply from overseas and major original equipment contracts played pivotal roles in boosting sales.

At Hankook's recent "Team Up in 2004" dealer meeting in Maui, Hawaii, Marketing Director Bill Bainbridge told more than 60 key Hankook dealers that sales in the United States for 2003 totaled an estimated $250 million, up from $210 million in 2002. Since 1998, Hankook's domestic sales volume has increased 200%.

"Increased capacity at our new plants in China coupled with stronger supply capabilities have resulted in a markedly improved picture in terms of sales and in servicing our network of dealers throughout the U.S.," Bainbridge told dealers.

Hankook's plants have boosted production to keep pace with market demand in all tire categories, especially ultra-high performance, light truck and radial truck, he said. "And our supply network is keeping pace with orders around the U.S. while keeping our distribution centers well stocked."

Bainbridge said Hankook’s solid relationship with Ford Motor Co. was instrumental in sales growth in 2003. Hankook announced OE contracts with Ford for the F-150 pickup and the E-Series Econoline van last year.

"Hankook understands the importance of the U.S. market. The U.S. has always been a major part of Hankook’s overall sales strategy, and our commitment to the U.S.... will only grow with time."

Dealers also were involved a series of meetings and strategy sessions for the upcoming selling season, which will build on Hankook's successful associations with Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, the National Basketball Association and NCAA basketball.

Bainbridge said Hankook's aggressive advertising and sports marketing programs, which placed the Hankook name in front of "literally billions of eyes in 2003," will continue in 2004 and beyond.

Hankook’s parent company, Hankook Tire Co., posted estimated sales of $1.62 billion in 2003, up from $1.48 billion the previous year.

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