ITE: Kumho, Pirelli introduce BIG tires

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Kumho Tire U.S.A. Inc. and Pirelli Tire North America opened the first day of the International Tire Expo (ITE) with big news.

Kumho introduced a 28-inch production version of its Ecsta STX light truck tire. "When we showed the 28-inch STX prototype at last year's SEMA show, the response was overwhelmingly positive," says Rick Brennan, high performance brand manager. "Everyone kept asking, 'When will it be available?'

"That demand, combined with Kumho's technical abilities and popularity of the Hummer H2 -- which is really the only SUV with wheel wells that are big enough to accept a 28-inch wheel and tire -- made it an easy decision to produce the tire."

The size 325/35R28 Ecsta STX features an aggressive directional tread pattern. It has two wide, full-depth circumferential grooves coupled with a center-to-shoulder groove to remove water from beneath the footprint.

Kumho says the 28-inch tire will be available in mid-2004.

Pirelli's new 25-inch Scorpion Zero M+S tire is being produced in Italy and is ready for shipment to the United States. Nicknamed "Dub plus 5," the 315/40R25 XL tire features Pirelli's exclusive "Double Z" dry and wet traction tread design.

Pirelli introduced the tire at its booth on the ITE trade show floor. It was fitted on a Hummer H2 with Giovanna Bragg alloy wheels.

"Some 'Dub' tires on the market these days might look trick, but if they don't have a load index equal to the OE tire they are replacing, they are, as you say, 'all show and no go!'" said Guy Mannino, Pirelli Tire North America's president.

The Scorpion Zero also is available in six 20-inch sizes.

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