NEW YORK—Hankook Tire America Corp. is the latest tire manufacturer to join the 100,000-mile treadwear warranty club with the introduction of the Mileage Plus GT all-season radial passenger tire. The Mileage Plus GT has a UTQG treadwear rating of 620, a temperature rating of "A" and a traction rating of "AA" and is available in 60- to 75-series sizes. Hankook said the Mileage Plus GT "is the only passenger tire of its kind" to have both an AA traction rating and a 100,000-mile limited treadwear warranty.
Hankook said the tire's extended tread life is the result of Carbon Compounding Technology (CCT). In CCT, an advanced carbon black formula is chemically bonded with silica to form "an optimized matrix of tough, long-wearing polymers" which increases both the durability and wet traction performance of the Mileage Plus GT.
In 1998, Toyo Tire (U.S.A.) Corp. released the 100,000-mile warranted 800 Ultra, and Sears introduced the RoadHandler Voyager LX in July 1999, a touring radial for cars and minivans with a 100,000-mile limited treadwear warranty.
In January, TBC Corp. announced plans to market 100,000-mile touring tires under its Sigma, Multi-Mile and Cordovan brand names.
"It's the largest roll-out we've ever undertaken in terms of development, design and marketing," said Bill Finn, senior vice president of sales for Hankook, in a press release announcing the Mileage Plus GT.
Mr. Finn said the AA traction rating "is a coup for us."
Based on the slogan, "The grip that won't let you down for 100,000 miles," the advertising will feature a touring sedan parked upside down from the ceiling, illustrating the traction of the tire. The Mileage Plus GT also comes with free replacement—including road hazard protection—and 24-hour roadside assistance for five years anywhere in the U.S.
"The purpose of this tire and the purpose of what Hankook has been doing lately is designing products as a first replacement product," said Richard A. Clarke, president of Clarke Advertising, "not a second or third."
Hankook introduced this new tire to dealers in February, and Mr. Clarke said his company will be coordinating a major advertising campaign—including TV, radio and print advertising—for the Mileage Plus GT.
Mr. Clarke said that 80 percent of Hankook's 350 major U.S. dealers have ordered and begun selling the Mileage Plus GT, though point-of-sale materials and other marketing support won't be available until April.
"The concept of having a high-mileage tire with AA traction is so appealing to them that they want the product regardless," he said.
Radio and TV ads for the Mileage Plus GT will be co-op ads, and dealers can add their own information for use in their local markets.
Mr. Clarke said another TV campaign promoting awareness of Hankook as a global company will appear on national TV later in the summer.
Clarke Advertising also is developing a Web site to promote this product and draw people to Hankook's site (www.hankooktireusa.com).