CANCUN, Mexico (Jan. 8) — Kumho Tire Co. Inc. plans to pass five companies to become the fifth largest tire maker worldwide by 2015, executives told dealers during the firm´s annual dealer meeting in Cancun.
The goal would require Kumho — now ranked 10th globally — to outsell Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., Hankook Tire Co. Ltd., Yokohama Rubber Co., Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. and Pirelli & C. S.p.A.
"We must take our company and brand to a new level," said Dave Hudrlik, vice president of sales for Kumho Tire U.S.A. Inc.
Kumho hopes to reach the No. 8 slot by 2009, Hudrlik said. He added that Kumho expects to be ranked ninth in 2007, reducing the number of companies it needs to surpass to four.
Executives said Kumho will reach its target through a variety of internal and external initiatives, including streamlined sales and support staff, increased distribution and manufacturing capacity and advanced training for dealers.
Overall, Brand Manager Rick Brennan said the company must sell itself as much as its tires. "What we have to do is ´tier up´ ourselves," he said, pointing to the ways major brands such as Michelin and Bridgestone sell themselves.
But the executives acknowledged their goal is a moving target as many of the companies Kumho must overtake are pursuing their own plans for growth.
"We have to go past four companies to get there, and those four companies aren't going to let us go because we want to," Brennan said.