AKRON—Hankook Tire America Corp. is emphasizing the technology that goes into its tires in a new marketing campaign.
“Kontrol Technology” will key on Hankook's efforts to improve performance, safety, comfort and environmental benefits to ensure controlled driving experiences with its tires, the company said.
The “K” stands for kinetic. The company said the philosophy “reflects how the tire should perfectly control the interaction between the driver, the car and the road while in motion.”
“Our philosophy of research, development and production is imbedded in Kontrol Technology,” said Sang Ju Lee, vice president of the research department of parent company Hankook Tire Co. Ltd.
The theme will be used in advertising and point-of-sale materials.
“Dealers recommend Hankook (to their customers), but why?” asked Bill Bainbridge, Hankook Tire America's director of brand communication. “We encourage dealers to promote Kontrol Technology as more consumers are asking, 'Why Hankook?' They are selling the value proposition with the Kontrol Technology story.”
To help dealers learn how to communicate the benefits of Hankook tire technology to their customers, the company will launch an online dealer training program.
“When the spring selling season comes, they will be geared up and ready to go,” Bainbridge said.
As part of the launch of the campaign, the tire maker showcased an environmentally friendly tire, Enfren, at the SEMA Show. The tire debuted in South Korea earlier this year, and the company is exploring the launch of a variation of the tire in North America in three years.
The tire features special silica compound and structural design efficiencies to reduce fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.
Also during the show, Hankook unveiled its latest premium ultra-high-performance tire, the Ventus R-S3 Z222, for the niche market of tuner and racing enthusiasts.
The tire is a successor to the Ventus R-S2 Z212 and a complement to the Ventus Z214 racing tire line.
Hankook said it used its racing tire compounds to improve the dry grip of the R-S3 by 30 percent over its predecessor. The R-S3 also features a flame design molded into the tread.
The tire will be available in seven sizes ranging from 15 to 18 inches in rim diameter in the first quarter of 2009, with additional sizes to follow in early 2010.
Hankook officials admitted the tire is for a limited niche market: a street tire for enthusiasts who will also drive it in road and track events.
“It's not a high-volume product, but it makes a powerful statement on dry grip and performance,” Bainbridge said.
The tire maker expects to adapt the technology to its other tire lines.
Hankook also will introduce 24 sizes in early 2009 for its Dynapro ATm RF10 all-terrain tire, ranging from 16 to 22 inches in rim diameters, and 12 sizes for its Ventus V12 evo K110 UHP tire in sizes ranging from 18 to 21 inches in rim diameters.