Hankook Reflects on 2009 North American Success, Predicts More for 2010
After attaining its highest global sales to date in 2009, Tire Review believes Hankook Tire America Corporation has reason to expect more success in 2010. Its report quotes Soo Il Lee, the company’s president, who reflected on last year’s growth and shared Hankook’s goals for the coming year with attendees at the tyre-maker’s dealer meeting, held earlier this week in St Thomas, US Virgin Islands.
“Hankook Tire announced its 2009 global sales, hitting a record high of over $3.9 billion dollars,” he said. “This means Hankook has practically doubled its global sales in just the last five years. This remarkable growth is consistent with our plan to be one of the world’s top five tyre companies by 2014. In North America – in spite of the dramatic decrease in new car sales and the economic recession – Hankook’s total tyre sales were up 8 per cent, topping $840 million dollars for the first time.”
In 2009, Hankook Tire relocated its Canadian headquarters into a new facility with a modern warehouse attached. The company plans to add additional warehouse storage in Vancouver by the end of this month. In the US, through expansion and improving space utilization, Hankook now has storage capacity for more than 2.5 million tyres in six locations. Dealers throughout North America also benefited from Hankook’s Web-based ordering system, designed to improve fill rates and reduce administration time, Lee said.
By continuing to make investments in research and development, manufacturing efficiencies, capacity expansion, and marketing programs, Hankook will continue its ambitious growth strategy, He noted.
Addressing the tyre-maker’s outlook for 2010 was Todd Hershberger, senior vice president of sales and marketing, who told dealers Hankook will invest roughly 5 per cent of its sales revenue in research and development “in order to keep our manufacturing processes and equipment among the best in the tyre industry, delivering the new lines and sizes that you need.”
“No matter what the product application, whether it’s ultra-high performance tyres; fuel-efficient, all-season touring tyres; or tyres for over-the-road freight movers, we apply a range of technologies so all of our tyres are optimized for performance, safety and comfort with minimal environmental Impact,” Hershberger said.
In addition to the eight new products Hankook launched at the meeting, the tyre-maker will also take on several brand-building efforts, including OE fitments, national and regional advertising, more sales promotions, sports sponsorships, motorsports involvement, training and more, according to Bill Bainbridge, director of brand communications.
The tyre-maker will offer both consumer rebate incentives and retail salesperson incentives – linked to Hankook’s Empowerment Training – between 1 April and 30 May. The company’s national broadcast advertising campaign for 2010 will target 60 per cent sports programming, including ESPN, ESPN 2, MLB Network and Speed Network.
It will focus its efforts on America’s pastime, with marketing agreements signed at 11 Major League Baseball stadiums to show its name and logo on signage behind home plate: Los Angeles Dodgers, Oakland Athletics, New York Mets, Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians, Pittsburgh Pirates, Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers, Florida Marlins, Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers. In addition, Hankook signage will be displayed courtside at four NCAA arenas and four NBA arenas, Bainbridge said. (Tire Review)