Yokohama Offers Global ADVAN-tage
Japanese based tyre manufacturer Yokohama has officially launched its Advan brand. In an effort to unify its global image, Yokohama will now adopt one name for its premium products, instead of the regional variations that currently exist. According to Yokohama, the newly launched brand reflects the company’s “highest performance” and “highest quality” image. From now on, the Advan name will adorn all of the company’s new global high performance products. At the same time as launching this new product concept, the company also released two new Advan branded high performance products, the Advan Sport and Advan ST.
Although Yokohama only launched Advan as its “global flagship brand” recently, the name has actually been rolling around for a while, having first been introduced in 1978 as a motorsport tyre. Prior to its international re-launch, Advan was also associated with sports category products, mainly in Japan. In terms of branding, Yokohama considers itself to be something of a pioneering company. It claims to have challenged tyre manufacturers involved in motorsport activity at that time, by sponsoring a “works coloured” vehicle.
Speaking to Yokohama HPT managing director, David Seward revealed that next year Yokohama, and therefore Advan, would be involved in 26 motorsport events. In addition, the company will be running a UK dealer scheme in order to further promote its flagship brand. While attending the Advan launch in Dubai, Tyres & Accessories also learnt that Yokohama would be involved in Le Mans Endurance Series and would also be likely to take part in the Le Mans 24 hour race.
The so-called 2003 Advan Le Mans project is probably the most high profile event Yokohama has been involved in recently. In this instance the car not only ran on Advan tyres, but was plastered top-to-bottom in Advan colours and marketing paraphernalia. The car was driven by Japanese ex-Formula 1 driver, Ukyo Katayama, who was also on hand in Dubai to testify to the products’ quality. According to the Kamikaze Katayama, as he is sometimes known, any doubts he had about the quality of the tyres were proved wrong by the end of the race.
Now having publicised that it will use the new brand globally, Yokohama plans to continue with its “aggressive” two-pronged marketing strategy. That is, motorsport involvement and securing high profile OE contracts. The most recent example of this is the Bentley Continental GT. The GT is capable of speeds up to 198 mph and as such is fitted with ZR rated 20 inch versions of the new Advan Sport. In this instance the tyre features an embossed Bentley ‘B’ logo highlighting both the exclusivity of the vehicle and its associated tyres. Yokohama Rubber says it plans to continue pursuing this type of co-development opportunity and other similarly high profile associations look likely.
Yokohama plans to develop the Advan name into a “top-of-the-line” brand across all of its tyre categories including its Luxury and SUV lines. That is why the company released two new products and launched the Advan brand simultaneously. Available in 17 to 22 inch sizes, the ZR rated Advan sport, is described as a tyre that “boasts ultrahigh performance as well as driving comfort and quietness.” The ADVAN ST is a SUV tyre designed for use with high-powered SUVs. During production Yokohama tested the tyres’ high performance capabilities on the Nurburgring circuit. The company also assessed the product’s real-life high-speed proficiency on the German autobahn.
It was no coincidence that Yokohama chose to launch its new “global flagship” brand identity in Dubai, a country with growing associations to motorsport. One obvious reason for travelling to the United Arab Emirates was for the company to present the opportunity to test its latest offering on the Dubai Autodrome. The new course is competing to become a future Formula 1 venue, and therefore is certainly capable of testing the products’ high-speed resilience.