PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico (Jan. 16)—Kumho Tire U.S.A. Inc. will open an original equipment office in Detroit on Feb. 1 as the South Korean-owned tire firm said prepares to announce four OE fitments in the U.S. in the near future.
The office initially will have a staff of two and will target mid- to high-range fitments with the Big Three domestic auto makers, David Hudrlik, senior vice president of sales told attendees of the company´s annual dealer meeting in Puerta Vallarta. "We will seek good profitable OE business," he said. "We will sell product that will benefit you."
Although no official OE contracts have been announced, Kumho officials told dealers one of the fitments will be on a future model made on the Chrysler Sebring platform. No information on the other three OE fitments was released.
The opening of the Detroit OE office comes as Kumho Tire U.S.A. posted 2005 sales of $407 million, well above the $358 million posted in 2004 but still short of the firm´s goal of $475 million for last year. Hudrlik acknowledged that fill rates for the first six to seven months of 2005 were sub-par, but the recent opening of a new distribution center will help the rate greatly improve this year.
He also set a high bar for 2006, with a goal to hike revenue 25 percent to $505 million. "That is the amount of product we can get for the U.S. market," Hudrlik said.
He noted Kumho´s worldwide tire capacity will rise to 48 million units this year, compared with 44 million last year. Capacity will jump even further in 2007 to 52.4 million, as Kumho´s second factory in China ramps up production after opening later this year.