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Trends in the fuel pumps market

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - 00:00

The function of a simple fuel pump is to pump fuel from the fuel tank to the engine of the vehicle. As the fuel tank is located on the opposite end of the car from the engine, the pump is required to draw the gas toward the engine. It is usually an essential component of an automobile. However, several older engine models, especially the motorbike engines, do not require a fuel pump. They rely on simple gravity for flow of fuel from the fuel tank to the engine. There are two pump types — mechanical and electrical. Carburetted engines use low pressure mechanical pumps that are mounted outside the fuel tank, whereas fuel-injected engines often use electric fuel pumps that are mounted inside the fuel tank.

Over the last decade, there has been a shift in demand in the aftermarket from the mechanical to electrical fuel pumps. The reason for this shift is that the mechanical fuel pump is now part of an obsolete technology. As engines moved away from carburetors and towards fuel injection, mechanical fuel pumps were replaced with electric fuel pumps. Electrical fuel pumps are almost double the cost of mechanical pumps. However, technology never stops evolving, therefore several higher-end vehicles are now being fitted with a fuel-delivery module. Now these modules are no more just a casing on a fuel pump (or as commonly known ‘pump on a stick’). These are advanced modules, which contain a fuel-pressure regulator, fuel-level sensing component and vapour-pressure sensor. They add a lot more efficiency to the fuel delivery system.

The do-it-yourself (DIY) verses do-it-for-me (DIFM) segment for this product category is at 1:9, respectively. Modules are an expensive replacement part and require skilled labor to replace them. This is further reducing the DIY share in market and making this category a total DIFM segment. The fuel pumps market is very competitive and price sensitive. As most consumers are unaware of the functionality and features of a fuel pump, it becomes very difficult for one to differentiate its products from another. The participants mostly compete on price and availability.

 

Recently some OE manufacturers have started fitting the fuel pump with the fuel tank as a single unit. Therefore, should the fuel pump fail, the whole tank would need to be replaced. This would add to the rising cost per unit of the product. The future market of the fuel pumps is not expected to grow very rapidly in North America. However, from the revenue point of view, the market may rise, especially due to the increasing price per unit of the pumps and modules.

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