LOS CABOS, Mexico—After a difficult year financially in 2016, Kumho Tire USA Inc. rebounded in 2017 with double-digit growth, and the company is looking to continue that momentum in the year ahead.
Without providing financial figures or percentages regarding the current year's financial performance, Jim Mayfield, executive vice president of sales and marketing, said Kumho is entering 2018 with a new theme, "Imagine a better tomorrow."
Even the location of Kumho's 2017 North American Dealer Meeting—the Auberge Esperanza Resort in Los Cabos—conveyed that approach.
Esperanza means "hope" in Spanish, President Harry Choi said in his opening remarks to the 30 tire dealers and distributors attending Kumho's 2017 North American Dealer Meeting.
But Kumho is doing more than just hoping 2018 will bring increased sales and profits to the Atlanta-based unit of South Korea's Kumho Tire Co. Inc.
The company is following its plan that focuses on being consistent, stable and dependable, Mayfield said.
And unlike 2017, when Kumho took a breather and did not introduce any new tires, the company will launch three products in 2018—the Crugen HP71, a CUV/SUV all-season tire that will replace the KL33; Ecsta PA51, an ultra-high-performance, all-season tire, that will replace the Ecsta 4X2 in the first stage of the launch and the Ecsta PA31 in the second stage; and KLP11e, a long-distance, over-the-road commercial drive tire.
"In 2018, one of the things that we've instituted as an organization globally is a more planned product replacement cycle," Mayfield said. "So every product now has a life cycle. And it varies depending upon the segment of the market that we're talking about.
"If it's a segment of the market where there are new vehicles being developed or the technologies are being launched very quickly, the life cycle will be shorter.
"If it's a segment of the market where the sizing is not changing quickly or the technology is not changing as quickly, then that life cycle might be longer."