Spring 2013 debut for AA-labelled Kumho range
Four tyre makers at this month’s Reifen 2012 show in Germany spoke of ‘AA’ label rated tyres. One of these was Kumho Tyres, whose new “Ecowing ES01” took pride of place on the company’s exhibition stand. The “all-new standard performance tyre”, as Kumho calls it, will be available in various sizes from spring 2013 and will – at least in size 195/65R15 91H – come with an A/A/71dB label rating. According to Kumho Tire Europe GmbH sales director Michael Zirnzak, the range will be available in 21 dimensions between 14 and 16-inches and feature rolling resistance and wet grip label ratings of A to C. More precise details of each individual tyre’s performance will be released in the near future; Kumho says it will apply label information to all tyres produced after 30 June.
The new Ecowing ES01 complements the Solus KH17, Kumho’s key offer in the performance segment. In terms of meeting the qualities covered by the label, the Korean manufacturer describes the Ecowing ES01 as “rolling resistance optimised”, offering “superb wet braking performance” and “lower noise levels and improved ride comfort”. In addition, Zirnzak comments that the ES01 also offers compact class vehicles a “high mileage” tyre. The sales director observes that it is by no means easy to label such a product, however he emphasises that Kumho “has done its homework” with the new tyre.
Even if Kumho doesn’t consider itself on the same level as the largest tyre majors, the company gladly goes head to head with them with its products. Management at the Korean tyre maker anticipate good sales from their AA-labelled standard tyre, as they believe it offers outstanding value for money and thus has nothing to fear from comparison with premium brands and the larger manufacturers’ second brands. It remains to be seen whether end consumers will follow this logic, yet Kumho is confident this will be the case. “We see the label as an opportunity,” Zirnzak states, “particularly for competing with the premium manufacturers.” But first Kumho must wait and see “how the others position themselves.”
Alongside the AA-labelled Ecowing ES01, Kumho presented its new PorTran KC53 van tyre. This range will also be released next spring, with 12 sizes for 14 to 16-inch rim diameters on offer. Kumho says that, like the ES01, the KC53 has been rolling resistance optimised and offers good wet braking performance, lower noise levels and high mileage. Label information for this range has yet to be released.