Kumho Tire U.S.A. Inc. unveiled new tires and a new corporate identity during the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas.
The Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.-based company has adopted the tagline, ``Driven Beyond The Expected,'' and the new logo-a red caret pointing upward at a 45-degree angle to the right over the words ``Kumho Tire''-to convey the message it is delivering high-quality, innovative products to dealers. The company will roll out the new identity system to its dealers and motorsports teams in the next few months.
``The meaning of the logo really embodies the feeling of where Kumho's products have always been, which has been you got more than you expected at the price you paid,'' said Rick Brennan, Kumho's director of brand management.
Mr. Brennan said the purpose of Kumho's new identity is to give the feeling that the company is visionary and can make tires that fit the market and bring profits to dealers.
At the SEMA Show, Kumho's booth sported the new logo and tagline to begin the launch of the identity system in the U.S.
In addition to the new identity, Mr. Brennan said other changes are coming soon to Kumho, particularly in distribution. He said the company recently expanded its warehouse space to 840,000 square feet from 270,000 square feet when it moved its headquarters to Rancho Cucamonga.
Kumho also plans to add 300,000 square feet to its Atlanta warehouse, bringing it up to 420,000 square feet.
Along with more warehouse space, Kumho announced it is adding 97 sizes to six of its tire lines for 2007. The lines with additional sizes are:
* Ecsta SPT ultra-high performance tire, 22 new sizes;
* Ecsta ASX ultra-high performance all-season tire, 15 new sizes;
* Solus KH16 all-season tire, 16 new sizes;
* Road Venture AT KL78 light truck tire, 29 new sizes;
* Ecsta STX ultra-high performance light truck tire, 10 new sizes; and
* Road Venture MT KL71 light truck tire, five new sizes.
Besides those lines, Kumho also is expanding its extended run-flat performance (XRP) tire line with the Ecsta SPT XRP, which will be available in 13 sizes ranging from 195/55R16 to 245/45ZR18.
``We want to be a complete company so the dealer gets what he expects,'' Mr. Brennan said. ``We have a long way to go. We know that.''
Kumho also exhibited its other new tires for 2007 including the Solus KR21, a mid-level broadline touring tire that will replace the 795 and 732 lines during the first quarter. The Solus KR21 is positioned to compete with the Goodyear Integrity and Toyo Spectrum, among others, Mr. Brennan said.
The KR21 carries a T speed rating, an 80,000-mile warranty and a UTQG of 600. It will be available in nearly 50 sizes ranging from 155/80R13 to 235/65R18.
The Road Venture APT KL51 is an all-season touring tire for light trucks and sport-utility vehicles. Mr. Brennan said Kumho will launch the tire in P-metric sizes in the first quarter and roll out LT-metric sizes by mid-year.
Dealers also can expect to see the Ecsta DX Aroma tire-a concept tire Kumho displayed at last year's SEMA Show-after Jan. 1. The Ecsta DX gives off a lavender instead of rubber scent and is targeted to women who drive sedans such as the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Ford Taurus.
Mr. Brennan said the tire's purpose is to generate a buzz in the marketplace that will differentiate Kumho from other manufacturers. Because it serves a narrow niche, the Ecsta DX Aroma tire will be available only in three sizes: 205/60R16, 215/60R16 and 235/60R16.
Kumho also is working to improve its broadline passenger tire fill rate, which Mr. Brennan acknowledged hit a low level of no more than 50 percent in September because production at Kumho Tire Co. Inc.'s new factory in Tianjin, China, didn't ramp up as quickly as expected and lost 30-40 days of production. He said dealers can expect Kumho to return to a 95-percent fill rate by December.
The Tianjin passenger and light truck tire facility came online in June, and Mr. Brennan said Kumho will open two more plants in China in 2007: a passenger and light truck tire plant in Changchun and a medium truck radial facility in Nanjing.
A fourth passenger and light truck tire factory is slated to open in 2008 in Vietnam.
``We're going from 47 million units of production to 76 million units of production in the next three years, so we have a lot of tires,'' he said. ``Even though we've jumped into OE, we still have high expectations for growth in the replacement market in the U.S. for next year.''
Kumho recently announced it will supply Ecsta KH11 ultra-high performance tires as an option on the international version of the 2007 Chrysler Sebring, its first fitment with a U.S. auto maker. Mr. Brennan said the company will announce more OE fitments in the future.