Suppliers that launch independent distribution systems can capitalize on big opportunities in the aftermarket, a Valeo executive said.
Aftermarket parts distribution is undergoing 'a profound change' and creating openings for suppliers that specialize in popular vehicle components, said Francis Ferreira, director of marketing services at Valeo's distribution business.
Parts manufacturers must offer the aftermarket more services and more products, plus solid technical expertise, Ferreira added.
For example, Valeo is looking for growth in the air conditioning aftermarket, which it estimates to be worth E145 million a year in France alone.
Valeo said 68 percent of new cars in France will be fitted with air conditioning this year, compared with 28 percent in 1995.
Valeo estimates 6.2 million vehicles on French roads are equipped with air conditioning -or 22 percent of the overall market. The share is expected to reach 27 percent next year.
Ferreira said efforts to increase awareness among consumers of the need to regularly service air conditioning systems could boost service volume.
Valeo also stressed the need for a global reach in its aftermarket operations. Valeo's distribution business recently extended operations to the USA and Russia, and is targeting Tunisia, Greece, China, Argentina and Austria for the development of new offices to work with local distributors.
Valeo won an Equip Auto innovation award for its Silencio flat blade in the aftermarket section.
The windshield wiper is designed to overcome noise problems associated with conventional blades. It also offers stylistic improvements over traditional designs.
The new flat blade has only six or seven parts compared with up to 23 for a traditional wiper, Valeo said.
The French supplier also showed its Master Park System that allows ultrasonic parking assistance systems to be retrofitted to cars already on the road.