New Brands: 6 Month Update (by Jeff Short)

It’s been a little over 6 months since we announced the additions of Hankook, Toyo, and Yokohama to our lineup. The K&W crew has been busy learning all about our new brands. Thinking about how they compliment our existing line up and what new opportunities they might have for our customers. Initially it’s intimidating when you look at a catalog with so many different types of tires, but after a little while you learn the key lines. We thought it would be helpful to share some our findings with you.


Hankook sales are tracking like a rocket. Straight up. There seems to be an incredible amount of raw market demand for their products.

Currently we see the following lines leading the way in passenger tires:

* Optimo H724 (broadline 70,000 mile S and T-rated)

* Optimo H426 (luxury H and V-rated all season touring, 60K warranty)

* Optimo H727 (Hankook’s flagship 100,000 mile T-rated touring line)

For light truck and SUV:

* AT-M leads the field. Consumer Reports call this the best deal going in an all-terrain tire.

* Next is their H/T line that goes by RH-12. Hankook also offers a special CUV line called the HP2.


With Toyo we’ve seen very strong sales of their Extensa tires. Extensa is Toyo’s entry-level line that performs with other brand’s premium offerings. Toyo recently adjusted their pricing on Extensas and we saw our sales double during the second half of March. As of last week, our data shows that we have 70 dealers buying Toyo products.

Interesting Toyo Case Study With Our Customer

I’d like to give you an example of what one of those dealers is doing with the brand. Craig sells several brands, one of which is Cooper. At the beginning of the year, Craig decided that he wanted to try his hand at promoting Toyo, but only if there was something in it for him. That “something” included making a better margin. Craig decided to increase his standard profit per tire by an extra $15 for every Toyo that he sold. He said, “I’ll be your guinea pig and let you know if this works.” Today I called Craig for an update. I let him know that he had purchased 116 Toyos year to date. I asked him if he had to deviate from his pricing plan. He just laughed and said, “No way.” Then he told me how much it meant to him that K&W’s marketing support team had made him custom Toyo brochures that feature his name and logo. Craig said, “My customers are impressed. They tell me how professional they make me look. It’s like I have the resources of a chain store.” So 116 tires at an extra $15 each, is $1,740 in extra profit for the first quarter. Figure in the rest of the year and he’ll make an easy extra 8 to $10,000 in profit.  And, one more thing you should know… Craig’s Cooper sales are up 55% this year.


Yokohamas continue to sell well throughout our regions. The standout bestsellers are the Avid Ascend and Avid Envigor lines. The Ascend is Yokohama’s best touring tire. The Envigor line occupies what Yokohama calls a “Grand Performance” category. That means all-season, high performance, low rolling resistance, and long tread life.

Avid Ascends, Avid Envigors, Geolandar G055s, and Geolandar G056s. If you know these 4 lines, you are off to a running start with the Yokohama brand.


Those familiar with K&W know this is our bread and butter brand. Though we have many years of experience with Cooper and aren’t learning from scratch about the lines like we are our new brands, we still see interesting trends and transitions. Here are some:

* The Discoverer SRX is really taking off and looks to be the perfect replacement for the CTS

* Discoverer S/T MAXX sales have doubled since last year, of course all the new sizes help

* CS5 sales are strong—The transition from the CS4 was a little rocky for some dealers, (always touch and go when replacing a “best seller”) but things smoothed out once we got a handle on the mounting issue. Click here for more on mounting CS5s: CS5 Mounting Update

If you are new to K&W, Cooper is our “go-to” brand. For a quick initiation, check out the CS3 and CS5 for passenger cars and for light trucks check out the Discoverer SRX, H/T, and the AT3.

We hope this information is helpful and maybe gives you something to think about. If anything here strikes an interest and you’d like to know more, or if you just have some questions we are happy to help. Just say the word and we’ll help you think through the best options and opportunities.

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