2007.10.10 Something smelly about these tires

Written by David Green.

By RICH FOLEY

Automobiles may not be selling at record levels lately, but the aftermarket parts industry doesn’t seem to be lacking in weird ideas to try to separate those hanging on to their old vehicles from some of their money.

For instance, there’s the fake sunroof. Don’t want to spend several hundred dollars to have a sunroof installed, but still want to look like you did? For much less money, you can actually purchase a realistic-looking magnetic product simulating the top and frame of a sunroof. Center and stick it on your vehicle’s roof, and there you have it...instant sunroof. All the look of the real thing (from the outside), but none of the usefulness or dubious cachet of the genuine article.

Of course, I’m not sure what you’re supposed to do when you give someone a ride and they discover the deception. Perhaps you should take the money you saved and get your air conditioning fixed...or maybe just carry a cooler and bag of ice with you. If you’re going to be cheap, you might as well go all the way.

If you really are willing to spend serious money on your vehicle, perhaps you might want your tires to smell funny.  If so, it’s time for a set of KUMHOs. South Korea’s KUMHO Tire Company has just introduced what they claim is the world’s first fragrance or “aroma” tire, the ECSTA DX. I’m sure Goodyear, Firestone and the rest of the tire companies are letting the Koreans have that “honor.” The first fragrance made available in tire form is lavender.

The aroma is added to the tire in the manufacturing process by mixing lavender-scented oils with the rubber compound.  The scent is designed to last for the life of the tire.

The tire maker’s website says the aroma tire is “targeted at female consumers who drive such sedans as the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Subaru Outback, Chrysler Sebring and Ford Taurus.” And not minding their tires smelling like lavender would be a plus, too, I’d say.

Can’t you see Martha Stewart buying a set of these for her Volvo, or Hummer or whatever it is she drives? Unfortunately, if Martha would prefer potpourri-smelling rubber for her ride, it’s not available...yet. And why not chocolate-smelling tires? I’d think that would be a big seller, if anyone really would make a tire-buying decision based on the smell.

KUMHO currently makes the lavender tires in just three sizes (apparently to fit the aforementioned vehicles) and one scent, although jasmine, rosemary and orange-scented tires have been tested and could be marketed as demand dictates. The lavender version is available at tire retailers as close as Adrian, Bryan and Toledo. If anyone out there buys a set, please drop by the office sometime. I’d love to take a whiff.

But why is KUMHO limiting themselves to going after female customers exclusively? There’s a whole world of scents out there and some should be able to help the tire maker sell tires to males, too.   

How about a tire that smells like hamburger? Maybe KUMHO could make a cross-marketing deal with McDonald’s or Burger King. Wouldn’t a burger-smelling tire called Big Mac or The Whopper be a natural for a four-wheel-drive pickup?

Or how about tires that smell like beer? You know that would get the interest of Budweiser, Miller and Coors.

The problem with all of this is, I don’t understand the marketing proposition of aromatic tires in the first place. When is the last time you smelled your tires, anyway? Unless you are checking the air pressure, or are hanging around a tire store or car race, you probably never notice a tire’s smell no matter if it’s rubber, lavender, rosemary, chocolate or whatever.

I don’t think it makes much difference how the tire smells. If an aroma is that important, wouldn’t it be smarter to have it inside the car? Aromatic seat covers make a lot more sense to me.

If KUMHO really wants to add something to its product, how about an aroma that would stop the neighborhood dogs from urinating on your tires? Now there’s an innovation I’d be happy to consider buying. How about it, KUMHO?

  • Play Practice
    DRAMA—Fayette schools, in conjunction with the Opera House Theater program, will present two plays Friday night at the Fayette Opera House. From the left is Autumn Black, Wyatt Mitchell, Elizabeth Myers, Jonah Perdue, Sam Myers (in the back) and Lauren Dale. Other cast members are Brynn Balmer, Mason Maginn, Ashtyn Dominique, Stephanie Munguia and Sierra Munguia. Jason Stuckey serves as the technician and Trinity Leady is the backstage manager. The plays will be performed during the day Friday for students and for the public at 7 p.m. Friday.
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.rover
    CLEARING THE WAY—Road crossings in the area on the construction route of the Rover natural gas pipeline are marked with poles and flags as preliminary work nears. Ditches and field entry points are covered with thick planks in many areas to support equipment for tree clearing operations. Actual pipeline construction is progressing across Ohio toward a collecting station near Defiance. That segment of the project is expected to wrap up in July. The 42-inch line through Michigan and into Ontario is scheduled for completion in November. The line is projected to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day.
  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2017