ZF Aftermarket On Growth Track With New Offerings

ZF Aftermarket which works globally in 120 locations with 650 partners, is aiming to end the 2017 calendar year with about Euro 3.1 billion sales, while keeping the employee strength unchanged at 8,080. The ZF AG group company had recorded sales of Euro 2.8 billion in 2016. “We are looking forward to grow in North America and Asia since these are the regions that we see more activities. Europe will remain the same,” Helmut Ernst, Head of ZF Aftermarket, told AutoParts Asia.
Asked how ZF Aftermarket proposes to achieve the 2017 sales target without additional manpower, Ernst said, first of all the smart car itself is taking decisions for service and replacement of parts. This may be a little bit away from the decision-making by the driver for the car. If the car alerts on any replacement of parts, it has to be carried out.
Secondly, “we have additional product lines and more part numbers. We intend to go deeper into the regions. Aftermarket in Asia is growing; especially in China which has been growing by about 11 percent, while our growth is 25-30 percent. All these give us the confidence to notch a conservative figure of Euro 3.1 billion this year,” he said.
Globally the aftermarket growth is at one to 1.5 percent. ZF Aftermarket has been performing well and “we are growing significantly. Our growth is double that of the global aftermarket growth,” Ernst said.
ZF is present in several segments including ADAS. Asked if the company will introduce any product in ADAS space, he said, “I have my doubts in retrofits in ADAS- related products because of the need for homologation of the vehicle.” However, sensors are on the rise in every kind of vehicle with several features adding up. There are integration of sensors happening at the OEMs whereas in the aftermarket the sensors are being replaced as an independent unit. Ernst said, “It’s not anymore; we have OE pattern and so we have the same part number for OE and OES (original equipment supplier). The growth and demand of sensors is by far exceeding the number of combination of sensors. Therefore, we see the growth of sensors in cars will be much more in the next five to six years.”
ZF Aftermarket’s remanufacturing facility in Chicago, which has been running in one shift is currently working in two shifts. It has potential to extend to the third shift also, he said.
Earlier in his presentation at Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) 2017, Ernst said, the aftermarket division of the company, as a solution partner will continue associating with trade parts business, logistics and e-services, remanufacturing, maintenance and repair, service for fleet and offer workshop concepts, trainings, technical information, non-automotive service and digital service. The company is able to offer end-to-end solutions due to its strong brands such as SACHS, offering clutches and shock absorbers; Lemforder, dealing with chassis and steering components; TRW, addressing braking systems, chassis components, shock absorbers and steering components; BOGE, offering shock absorbers and Openmatics, dealing with connectivity products.
ZF group reported sales of Euro 35.17 billion and in the current year it is expected to be between Euro 38 billion and Euro 39 billion. North America contributed 27 percent of the total sales while Europe without Germany accounted for 26 percent. Asia-pacific and Germany contributed 22 percent each while South America’s share was two percent and Africa was one percent. The company has invested close to Euro two billion in R&D and invested about Euro 1.2 billion in property, plant and equipment during 2016.
“We are on the way that every vehicle will be connected, which is the part of the story on Internet of Things,” Ernst said. More or less, half of the turnover by 2020 will come from digital services, he opined. About one third of the R&D spent will be related to digitalisation and connected vehicles. Speaking on the digital solutions from ZF Aftermarket, he said, vehicles are communicating, and the company ensures that they are understood by the workshops. Openmatics provides digital solutions such as Bluetooth low energy tags etc. These will bring in new repair and maintenance procedures, he said.
Brand Strategy
The Aftermarket division of ZF Group ensures the performance and efficiency of vehicles throughout their life cycle, with integrated solutions and the entire product portfolio. Its combination of established product brands, digital innovations, customised products and services, and a worldwide service network has made the company a sought-after partner and number two in the global automotive aftermarket.
As a leading partner in the competitive automotive aftermarket, ZF strives to expand its reach through product development and technical training education. This year, ZF Aftermarket presented its premium brand strategy at AAPEX 2017 and Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show 2017. The company showcased its innovative product portfolio including: SACHS, Lemförder, TRW, Openmatics, and STABILUS. At AAPEX the visitors had a chance to view the entire ZF Aftermarket product portfolio, a state-of-the-art Advanced Urban Vehicle (AUV) display, and a variety of product demonstrations. Product trainings were conducted by certified ZF Technical Trainers, Dirk Fuchs and Francisco Moreno.
With the addition of a display at SEMA 2017, ZF Aftermarket shared the performance automotive technology with consumers. Besides, it showcased the ZF Mobile Technical Training Centre, two top racing vehicles, the ZF Motorsports trailer and product demonstrations. It also hosted technical training sessions throughout the week ranging from product demonstrations to performance versus motorsports product comparisons.
Copper-free Brake Pads
As part of the programme ZF Aftermarket announced that in 2018, 45 percent of its TRW-branded disc brake pads available to the North American market will be copper-free. This announcement came well in advance of the current legislation date – applicable in California – of 2021, when all disc brake pads marketed must be certified as having less than five percent copper content. By 2025, all must be copper-free. Officials from the company mentioned that in 2018 an impressive 80 percent of its range will be classified as low copper – with copper content limiting to five percent or less.
“As a leading automotive safety expert, we take the subject of being environmentally conscious extremely seriously. We invest heavily in research and development to ensure our products provide the safest drive, while at the same time making the most efficient use of materials and energy to continually reduce our own ecological footprint,” Mark Thorpe, ZF Aftermarket Director of Sales, United States and Canada, said. “We want our customers to know that we are ahead of the legislation and will work tirelessly until all TRW branded brake pads manufactured for the North American market are copper-free,” he added.
John Edwards, Managing Director, United States and Canada, said that in North America the company holds second position in the aftermarket, present in about 50 locations across the US, Canada and Mexico. He also announced that its technical training programme has been officially accredited as an Automotive Service Education (ASE) Training Provider of Continuing Automotive Service Education. The mission of ZF Aftermarket’s Technical Training department is to provide in-depth knowledge of automotive technology to industry students, technicians, and industry professionals. By receiving this accreditation, ZF can engage and educate more technicians across the country.

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