It’s not a new issue though Hankook Australia has implemented a new warehouse management system to identify tyres that have been imported into Australia by unauthorised wholesalers.
The unique barcode given to each tyre manufactured by Hankook will allow tyres to be tracked from the overseas factory to a state warehouse and then to the local retailer. It’s a system designed to improve global stock management and make the operations of warehouses more efficient that’s delivering other benefits.
Hankook Australia is using the barcode tracking system to educate retailers that tyres imported by unauthorised wholesalers may not be suitable for Australian conditions and are not covered by the Hankook Australia warranty programs.
Marc Sibbald, Sales Director at Hankook Australia, is encouraging his sales team to have the barcode conversation with their customers.
“It’s a point of difference for supporting tyre retailers”, says Sibbald. “Most of the industry is doing the right thing though some retailers are misleading consumers by purchasing from unauthorised wholesalers and claiming the manufacturer’s warranty still exists.”
“Our research says consumers want safe tyres. If there’s no manufacturer’s warranty because the tyres are parallel imports, are they safe?”
The parallel tyre problem exists due to several reasons. One is the global changes in supply and demand of OE tyres to car manufacturers. When the production schedule changes, tyre manufacturers are left with excess stock that needs to find a home quickly.
Another reason are the regulations on tyre age that vary across the world. Several countries have limitations on the maximum age of tyres when they are sold. So as the end of the year approaches, manufacturers, distributors and wholesales start contacting international brokers to off load their old stock. Then in the first quarter of the new year, parallel tyres flood into countries like Australia where there are no age restrictions.
“Hankook tyres that are imported by Hankook Tyre Australia and sold through the Hankook Authorised Dealer network are covered under warranty and we can be confident of the quality and performance specifications of these tyres. However, Hankook tyres that are imported into Australia by unauthorised third parties and sold by unauthorised dealers cannot be verified for quality, age, or manufacturing and storage and handling history and will not be covered by our warranty. The potential quality problems of these tyres and the lack of support for these tyres will detrimentally affect the Hankook brand and reputation in Australia,” states Sibbald.
Rouges will always find a way around the rules if there’s an opportunity to make some money. And some consumers think tyres are just round and black with no variation in quality or performance between one brand to the next. But most people prefer to be informed so they can make the right decision for their families.
The message from Hankook on unique barcodes is about providing retailers and consumers with the right information so they can stay safe on the road.