With a target to double the turnover by 2020, Federal-Mogul India is betting big on the aftermarket.

Story by:

Anirudh Raheja

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Showcasing a slew of OE and aftermarket products like Goetze engine valves for heavy commercial vehicles apart from gaskets, pistons, piston rings and liners, spark plugs, wiper blades and steel rings at the Auto Expo 2016, Federal-Mogul India is banking upon the aftermarket to double its turnover in India by 2020. A subsidiary of US-based Federal-Mogul Corporation, the company clocked a turnover of Rs.1,363.16 crore in FY2016. Working towards launching new products in the commercial vehicle segment starting from the third quarter of this fiscal, Federal-Mogul is employing a strategy to get closer to the end customers on the basis of a robust product portfolio to provide an unmatched competitive advantage. “We will be introducing engine valves for HCV segment under the Goetze brand in the third quarter of this fiscal. Focus would be on the aftermarket group,” says Sanjeev Singh, Director – Aftermarket, Federal Mogul India. In the case of engine valves, the company, which sources 95 per cent of the products from India, will bank on a blend of engineering capabilities of Federal-Mogul in India and Thailand as of current. The Thailand facility would thus serve as a base for manufacturing engine valves as well. The introduction of engine valves will follow the launch of engine oils under Federal-Mogul’s acclaimed Champion brand for the aftermarket by the end of 2016 according to Singh.

A 100-year-old brand belonging to Federal-Mogul, Champion is known for its spark plugs. Entering India two decades ago, the brand has a facility at Bhiwadi, Rajasthan, dedicated to it. Manufactured at the facility are spark plugs, wiper blades, coolants, ignition coils, pistons and piston rings for commercial vehicle segment. Under the Champion brand, the company has recently launched Champion iridium spark plugs and wiper blades. Federal Mogul has used its proprietary iridium fine wire centre and nickel alloy ground electrode for its heat active alloy in the spark plug. This allows for better control over the spark characteristics and erosion resistance, regardless of the conditions while maintaining stable operating temperatures under varying engine loads. The flat wiper blades launched by the company carry a tensioned metal strip within the rubber structure. Designed aerodynamically to provide better vision to the driver, it also reduces wind noise. A supplier of spark plugs for CNG commercial vehicles among a wide variety of other vehicles, the company, according to Singh, plans to launch a complete line-up of cabin and oil filters and engine oils in a phased manner beginning 2017. Claimed to grow at 15 per cent, the company has eight plants in India and a R&D center at Bangalore. Part of the plan to double the turnover by 2020 is to push exports to the SAARC region as well.

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Federal Mogul’s aftermarket domain

Federal-Mogul’s automotive aftermarket business is structured under three divisions. The Goezte brand is about engine associated parts. The Ferodo brand offers non-asbestos braking system products. The Champion brand is about servicing and replacement parts that are needed during the normal course of vehicle usage. Describing aftermarket as a different ball game altogether, Singh avers, “For a product that has already done 50,000 km, it is important to offer a product that suits (and withstands) operating conditions. Especially in view of the largely prevalent overloading practices.” “To increase the life of an engine with the same alloy, a different design and coating can be employed. This will reduce the wear and tear of the piston and the sleeve. Also, enhanced lubrication will not only avoid excess fuel consumption, it will enable the engine to perform well,” he adds.

Under the Ferodo brand, Federal-Mogul India has introduced brake linings for light commercial vehicles. It has also changed the mixture of grades of its existing portfolio for CV linings being manufactured at the Chennai plant. The portfolio is 30 per cent costlier than the competition, and yet in demand according to Singh. He mentions that the demand for products like these, which are based on European formulations, is rising. Having grown by 100 per cent in the non-asbestos based braking system segment in the last two years, the company has recently expanded into other segments including two-wheelers for a wider reach. Apart from engine oils, engine valves and filters under the Champion brand, Federal-Mogul will soon line up glow plugs. An application engineering team to understand the needs of the aftermarket has been setup and the design of the products will be based on the inputs received.

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Aftermarket vibes

Indian aftermarket is driven by a consumer who is not just looking for cheaper alternatives, but is also looking for quality products at competitive prices. Given the way the automotive aftermarket and the automotive service industry operates, there is a need to educate the technicians and the consumer. Opines Singh, “It is important to educate not only the mechanics but also to raise awareness among consumers for high quality products.” He states that there is a difference between a product designed for an OEM and for an aftermarket. Quite often, aftermarket parts can be inferior. Counterfeiting is also an issue. To ensure that high quality parts are made available, and there is no piracy issue, Federal-Mogul India is working with its distributors to ensure that the consumer is made aware of genuine and dubious parts. “We have also opened up an India specific engine product website where customers can go directly and see whether the product that they have bought is genuine. We will be taking a similar approach for Ferodo and Champion brand of products,” explains Singh.

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