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Kumho charts sales rebound in 2004

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Kumho Tire U.S.A. Inc.'s 2003 sales totaled $305 million, an 8% drop from 2002, but the company is targeting sales of $340 million this year.

Last year's loss "was primarily because of capacity constraints," Kumho Vice President of Sales Dave Hudrlik told mtdealer.com this morning. "Our three factories are running at 100%."

However, on a more long-term basis, Kumho's passenger sales grew 43% from 2000 through 2003, according to Hudrlik, while its light truck sales jumped 25% and its medium truck radial sales increased 85%.

"Our growth has been consistent over the past couple of years."

Kumho plans to regain lost sales in 2004 through its Automated Production Unit (APU) facility, which opened last fall.

The factory, which is running at full capacity, can produce two million units annually, the majority of which will be used as original equipment in Asia.

This will, in turn, free up Kumho's other plants to make more tires for the United States market, Hudrlik says.

"We're not a production-driven company; we're a marketing-driven company. Our factories follow the sales and marketing side. We can do relatively short runs and quick runs and we can make changes in the middle of the production month."

In addition, Kumho has announced plans to double the capacity of its factory in China within three years via an addition to the facility.

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