Kumho entered the replacement electric vehicle tyre market in 2016 with its Wattrun VS31, a tyre that was an early forerunner of the current wave of products designed to meet the particular needs of battery-powered cars. The tyre garnered both the prestigious German Red Dot Design Award and American Green Good Design accolades, demonstrating the Korean manufacturer’s innovation in that field. The Wattrun VS31 has now been superseded by the Ecsta PS71 EV, the company’s next generation electric vehicle tyre.
Kumho’s recent development of its SUV and 4×4 tyre range have focused on satisfying the increasing requirement for more car-like on-road performance from such vehicles. The Korean company’s line-up offers more than just on-road SUV fitments, though, with two all-terrain models and the mud-terrain MT51 offering performance away from smooth tarmac.
While most tyre manufacturers are evolving their approach to building ranges of electric vehicle tyres, with specialism not always the preferred route, a small number of tyre-makers were quick off the mark with new product lines. Korean manufacturer Kumho was one of the small number to bring an all-new product to the electric vehicle replacement tyre market, entering the burgeoning segment in 2016 with the Wattrun VS31. The tyre garnered several accolades for pioneering design work, including both the prestigious German Red Dot Design Award and American Green Good Design award. Now Kumho’s strategy is to bring its EV line more directly into alignment with its existing passenger car tyre brands; the Wattrun VS31 pattern has now been superseded by the Ecsta PS71 EV, the company’s next generation electric vehicle tyre.
Sponsors tend to come and go in the fast-moving world of motorsport, making Kumho’s relationship with the BMW Racing Drivers Club one of the longest of its type in UK club history – the opening race of the season at Brands Hatch on 8 April will mark its 26th year.
Already the official tyre supplier to the TCR touring car competition on four continents, Kumho Tire recently signed a deal to become the title sponsor and exclusive tyre provider to the related TCR World Tour. All cars participating in the 2023 Kumho TCR World Tour will thus race on the Kumho Ecsta S700 racing tyre or, in wet conditions, the Ecsta W701.
Continental’s SportContact 7, WhatTyre Tyre of the Year 2022, added to its impressive tally of test victories as it was named the “outstanding” tyre in the Sportauto summer tyre test 2023. Elsewhere there was a very notable showing for the “very good” Firestone Firehawk Sport, one of only two tyres to record above-average ratings in all three disciplines rated in Sportauto’s final analysis – wet, dry and environmental. The tyre infiltrated the group of five premium brands in the top half of the rankings, beating its Bridgestone stablemate, the Potenza Sport, and the Pirelli P Zero PZ4. The magazine tested eleven tyres in size 225/40 R18 92Y XL mounted on an Audi S3.
The rise and rise of the SUV has been a dominant feature of the car market for some time now, and Kumho says this is having a “fundamental effect” on its tyre range. This can be witnessed in the most recent addition to the company’s SUV/4×4 line-up, the Ecsta PS71 SUV.
Kumho Tyre (UK) supported the Max Adventure team as it beat its original time target on the Driven To Extremes Euro EV Marathon. The team covered its 3,174 mile-route from Oslo to Portugal in just 3.75 days in the fully electric Kia EV6 ‘Air’ fitted with Kumho’s Ecsta PS71 EV tyre. The team knocked 47 minutes off the time set by Sir Stirling Moss in 1952, adding an extra country to the list of those visited. The challenge was designed to show that a standard EV and current charging infrastructure can now allow drivers to cover vast distances in a short time. The Kumho Ecsta PS71 EV is an original fitment on the Kia EV6, with the 235/55R19 size used by the challenge car throughout the trial.
Kumho presented its latest tyres and award-winning technologies at Autopromotec 2022. It also used the opportunity to underline its new approach to the Italian market, similar to its UK strategy, as Carlo Citarella, managing director of Kumho Tire Italia, explained. He said that Autopromotec gave the company “a great opportunity for the whole Kumho Tire Italia Team to speak directly with our customers, following the new direct approach to the market. Only by talking directly with the customer can we better understand the retailer’s needs and offer a service that lives up to their expectations.“ The manufacturer’s tyre range has been calibrated to meet these expectations. The latest tyres on stand included the Ecsta PS71, Ecsta HS52 and Ecsta PS71 EV summer tyres, the new Wintercraft WP52 and the all-season Solus HA32.
Kumho’s surprise victory in the 2021 in Auto Bild’s 52-tyre summer tyre test with its Ecsta HS51 high-performance tyre did not prevent the manufacturer from replacing the tyre with the Ecsta HS52 successor high performance tyre. Some sizes are already available at Kumho dealerships nationwide, with the balance of the line-up due shortly.
Kumho is bringing the follow-up to its highly rated Ecsta HS51 to the replacement tyre market in 2022. The Ecsta HS52 will be available from Kumho dealers this spring. The tyre, the latest in the Korean tyre manufacturer’s Ecsta range for performance cars comes after its predecessor’s triumph in Auto Bild’s March 2021 summer tyre test, when it topped a list of 53 candidates. By the end of 2022 the HS52 will be available in 46 sizes to fit rim diameters between 14 and 18 inches.
Kumho’s Ecsta UHP tyre range is currently represented by the PS91 and PS71 models, covering fitments between 17 and 21”. This Ecsta range has been embellished with runflat and SUV variants, extending its reach into other areas of the market, and in the process collecting an original equipment homologation on the BMW 5 Series.
A further Red Dot accolade for Kumho, which has won a Red Dot Design Award 2021 in the ‘product design’ category. The Red Dot team honoured Kumho for its latest street legal competition tyre, the Ecsta V730. Kumho launched the Ecsta V730 in the US market earlier this year.