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Kumho replaces UHP icon, discloses 2004 sales

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Kumho Tire U.S.A. Inc. is replacing its popular Ecsta 712 with the Ecsta SPT, its next-generation value ultra-high performance tire.

The Ecsta SPT will be available this March in 32 sizes, Kumho officials announced at the company´s dealer meeting in Cancun, Mexico, today. (Ninety-percent of Kumho´s dealer network is attending the event.)

Another 18 sizes will be added by September.

The SPT "retains the low-wearing characteristics of the 712," which put Kumho on the ultra-high performance map in the United States. It boasts reduced noise -- plus improved grip, handling and wet performance -- compared to its predecessor.

Replacing the 712 with the SPT "is probably the most important thing we´ve done in the last three years," says Rick Brennan, Kumho director of brand management.

Kumho achieved $354 million in U.S. sales in 2004, a record for the company and 9% more than it projected at the beginning of the year. Kumho expects to reach $423 million in U.S. sales during 2005. The 712 played a major role in Kumho´s sales last year.

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