LAS VEGAS—Hankook Tire Co. Ltd. has developed a second brand, called “Laufenn,” that it plans to introduce to the U.S. market next year as its entry-level product offering.
Laufenn is considered a relatively complete brand, launching with five lines, starting with an all-season touring tire and comprising high-performance, all-terrain and highway-terrain sport utility/light vehicle and winter passenger fitments, the company disclosed at a press conference at the 2014 Specialty Equipment Market Association Show in Las Vegas.
Hankook intends to sell the brand globally eventually, said Hyun Bum Cho, chief marketing officer and chief corporate management officer of South Korea's Hankook Tire, credited with driving the initiative to create a second brand that will launch in the U.S. first, starting in the first half of 2015.
The brand is being manufactured initially exclusively at Hankook's plant in Bekasi, Indonesia. That decision will allow Hankook to avoid problems with the possible anti-dumping tariffs/countervailing duties that the U.S. is considering against Chinese-sourced tires.
Having a second brand—as most of the world's other major tire makers have—will help the company position the Hankook brand more effectively as its premium brand and help it position Hankook more competitively among other Tier I brands, Cho said.
The name “Laufenn” is derived from the German word “laufen,” which means “run,” Hankook said, and will be promoted with the brand slogan “Journey in Style.”
The company will market the brand as a “sensible choice” for each driver's unique driving experience, Hankook said, by combining practical value with solid fundamentals, stable performance and style.
Laufenn offers a range of quality products that fit a variety of lifestyle needs through timely performance upgrades and continued investment, the tire maker said.