Kumho Tire, one of the nation’s top three tire makers, has sets its sights on the growing demand for ultrahigh-performance tires in line with the growth of luxury and super cars.
“Word-of-mouth publicity among luxury and super car owners in Korea has lifted sales of the company’s UHP tire brand ‘Ecsta,’’’ said Kim Sang-woo, the public relations team leader at Kumho Tire.
For instance, Ecsta PS91, the super UHP tire optimized for super cars and performance cars, has become a choice for drivers enjoying rides on the circuit.
“Sales of Ecsta PS91 are estimated to have jumped 176 percent last year from the previous year,’’ Kim said.
The high-end tire product, which is available in 43 sizes in 18- to 22-inch wheel diameters, boasts of stable durability and running performance at over 300 kilometers per hour.
The explosive sales growth of Ecsta PS91 is attributed to growing demand for super cars here, the company official said.
Despite the prolonged slump in consumer spending, sales of so-called “super cars” with a price tag of over 200 million ($167,000) continued to grow last year in Korea, turning the country into one of the most dynamic super car markets in the world.
According to the market data, sales of the world’s leading super car brands, including Rolls-Royce, Maserati, Porsche, Bentley, soared over 39 percent in the first 11 months of 2015 from a year ago.
Based on its experience in the local market, the company plans to go abroad with the Ecsta brand.
Pressed by cheap products supplied by Chinese rivals, Korean tire makers, including Hankook Tire and Kumho Tire, have turned their eyes to the UHP tire market to improve their profitability over the past few years.
Sales of UHP tires at Kumho have already reached up to 25 percent of the entire revenue.
In preparation for tapping the global UHP market, Kumho has driven marketing activities at international motor sport-related events.
Recently, the tire maker joined the Tokyo Auto Salon 2016, which took place at Makuhari Messe in Tokyo, Japan, from Jan. 15 to 17. The company showcased its UHP solutions, including Ecsta brand products, for cars tuned for motor racing, the company said.
The tire maker also displayed an actual racing car of its Ecsta Racing Team, where its UHP tire was fitted. Kumho has run the racing team, one of the nation’s top motor sport teams, in its efforts to raise awareness and sales of its UHP products.