With growth and expansion as the buzz words surrounding ZF Aftermarket’s TRW brand in North America as it enters 2018, the road ahead seems paved with opportunity and set for success.
The brand introduced a record number of SKUs in 2017, well more than 1,000; in line with the ZF Aftermarket policy of being first to market with new developments, technologies and parts. The result of which is an ever growing, solid commercial offering for the Corner Module – braking, steering and suspension products and systems. Developed in conjunction with OE colleagues, every single part within the TRW portfolio is developed to work in harmony within the system and is tested to the extreme both in the laboratory and on the road. The attention paid to measurement and specification result in a complete package of OE quality parts which fit and perform perfectly: confidently meeting the needs of the customer and providing the safest possible drive for road users.
“The TRW brand is in a positive and healthy place as we start 2018. Business is good; the team is gaining momentum and members and the brand’s reputation continues to grow. Now the brand is firmly embedded as part of the ZF Aftermarket family. Our customers and stakeholders are really feeling the benefits which have resulted from the integration of the TRW and ZF businesses,” said Mark Thorpe, ZF Aftermarket, Director of Sales, North America.
“The power of two has given us a wider portfolio, even greater scope for our global manufacturing, testing and development and access to a broader range of complementary technologies. And of course, all of this OE engineering ingenuity and skill is transferred directly into our aftermarket offering.”
In line with ZF Aftermarket’s global policy of being first to market with new parts across North America, in 2017 the TRW brand introduced more than 1,000 chassis part numbers to its market leading ‘Corner Module’ offering of braking, steering and suspension parts and systems. The SKUs added, cover an extensive list of applications and cater to all major vehicle manufacturers in operation across North America.
The TRW branded offering of Corner Module parts – designed and developed to work in harmony within the systems situated in the corner of the vehicle which transfer the power safely and evenly to the road – continues to grow in popularity across the North American market.
Planning for success
The positive news of the TRW brand’s strategic direction in North America comes as the automotive industry’s financial state appears to be a mixed bag. Reviewing the recent North American International Auto Show, The New York Times says that while 2017 sales in the United States topped 17 million vehicles for the third year in a row, the culmination of the best three-year stretch the industry has ever experienced and signaling a positive 2018, the long-term outlook might not be so upbeat. This is due to declining retail sales at dealerships despite incentive increases, rising interest rates and younger buyers showing less interest in owning cars than older generations. The Times also stated that the supply of low-mileage used cars is growing, giving shoppers attractive and lower-cost alternatives to new cars. Estimates suggest that almost four million leased vehicles will be turned in and offered for sale as used models this year, up from 3.6 million in 2017(i).
Thorpe added, “This type of data is invaluable for the aftermarket. It helps us anticipate the average age of the future vehicle parc, enables us to plan for part demand and to continue to best serve our loyal and ever-growing customer base.”
“Within any business there are certain non-negotiable elements necessary for growth and success. These include: knowing the industry and market in which you operate inside out and understanding business trends to anticipate the positive and negative effects they are likely to have. Looking at the bigger picture is paramount to successful growth. At ZF Aftermarket we are skilled at strategizing for the long term – and that’s what our business is all about: the long term and how we change and develop to remain competitive.”