FRANKFURT - Visteon Automotive Systems is aiming to generate sales of $500 million (euro 467 million) from the European aftermarket within five years, according to Erik Lundtoft, director of European aftermarket operations for Ford Motor Co.'s components subsidiary.
In 1998, Visteon had $800 million in aftermarket sales globally, but very little of that was in Europe, said Lundtoft.
Over the past year Visteon has been building up its aftermarket organization. Lundtoft joined Visteon on December 1 last year from AlliedSignal in Europe, where he had been vice president of sales and marketing. He had also worked for Tenneco.
The initial focus of Visteon's aftermarket effort in Europe has been internal. 'We have worked with our factories to prepare for Visteon-sourced products,' said Lundtoft. Visteon has also hired computer aided design (CAD) experts and engineers for the new business.
A new Frankfurt headquarters for aftermarket operations opened at the start of August, and a central warehouse in the Netherlands will open at the end of this month. Regional sales teams around Europe are being put in place at the moment, with sales starting in the first quarter of 2000.
'The investment is designed to help us be a major player in four years' time,' said Lundtoft. Around 90 percent of the aftermarket product range is sourced from Visteon itself and Lundtoft doesn't expect that figure to drop below 80 percent. Some lines, however, will feature bought-in product - such as the Rear Seat Entertainment System, which incorporates a Nintendo games console. But most of the products will be Visteon-branded.
'We do not really want to be a trading company,' said Lundtoft. 'We want to source products that are made by us.'
Lundtoft sees Visteon's car company background as its biggest strength. 'We have a lot of technology available that has not really been transmitted into the aftermarket yet,' said Lundtoft. 'Some of our opposition has no access to that technology.'
Visteon's products cover about $7 billion of the $20 billion European aftermarket. Lundtoft sees four core areas for the business: chassis products such as axles, cv joints, driveshafts and steering parts; powertrain control products such as starter motors and fuel, oil and water pumps; climate control products such as radiators, compressors, heater cores and evaporators; and multimedia.
These will be the main streams of Visteon's business within a few years, said Lundtoft.
He sees particularly strong growth in the climate control and multimedia segments of the aftermarket.