Kumho Tire U.S.A. Inc. sees the launch of the successor to its Ecsta Supra 712 ultra-high-performance tire, the Ecsta SPT, as one of the most significant in company history.
``That's the tire (the 712) that put us on the map with dealers and was our entry into the ultra-high-performance market,'' Rick Brennan, director of brand management, said during a tour of the company's booth at the SEMA Show. ``So this tire is probably the most important product launch Kumho will ever have.''
Kumho will introduce the Ecsta SPT in late March as a replacement to the Supra 712 in the value segment of the UHP market.
``This is a tire for the guy who wants looks and performance, but who doesn't want to spend top dollar,'' Mr. Brennan said. ``It provides a step up in performance without giving up the wear of the 712.''
Kumho will offer the Ecsta SPT in a total of 54 sizes, with 33 sizes available initially.
Also for next year, Kumho will:
* Introduce the Ecsta DX, a touring UHP tire for luxury performance sedans. ``This tire offers outstanding ride comfort and very low noise for performance handling,'' Mr. Brennan said. Available in next year's first quarter, it will be offered in 29 sizes.
* Launch the Solus KH16, an H-speed-rated, all-season tire, aimed at a segment of the tire industry Mr. Brennan described as the ``bread and butter of today's performance tire market.'' This is for vehicles such as the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Nissan Maxima, ``cars people are driving every day,'' Mr. Brennan said. Available in June in 24 sizes, the Solus brand will be offered only through the dealer channel.
* Unveil the Road Venture MT, a sport-utility vehicle tire designed for vehicles such as the Hummer SUT. ``This is for people who want an all-terrain, off-road tire,'' Mr. Brennan said. The Road Venture MT will be available by the third or fourth quarter in size 37x14.00R24.
* Add eight sizes to its Road Venture AT all-terrain, light truck tire line. ``These new sizes extend our AT line into large rim diameter sizes for people who want the large rim look but want a more aggressive look in the tread,'' Mr. Brennan said. The new 18-, 20- and 22-inch sizes will be available in June.
* Expand the Ecsta ASX, all-season, UHP line by 10 sizes to fit full-size performance sedans such as the Cadillac STS, Mr. Brennan said. The new sizes will come in 60- and 65-series aspect ratios in V and W speed ratings. They will be available in January.