Growth Opportunities in HD Truck Aftermarket

The North American heavy-duty truck aftermarket is passing through a phase that offers tremendous growth opportunities for both the product and services segments, according to Frost & Sullivan's new report, "Strategic Overview of the North American Heavy Duty Truck.”

While the distribution channel is changing in response to the dynamics of the competitive landscape, products are experiencing pressures emanating from increasing electronic content and the introduction of proprietary technologies by truck makers. Fuel price volatility, rising operating costs, technology complexity, inventory management issues, and increasing influence of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in this market are not only presenting unique challenges to market participants but also creating attractive growth opportunities for the proactive and innovation-centric companies in this segment.

Quite significantly, the heavy-duty aftermarket parts and service structures are experiencing increasing levels of consolidations. The current distribution mechanisms and product and service flow channels are struggling to cope up with this change, creating downtime and cost issues.

"Moreover, original equipment service (OES) channels are amassing a greater share of the aftermarket revenues, driven by the increasing prevalence of proprietary technologies in commercial vehicles," the report says. "Having said that, OES channels are also struggling to keep up with the demand, offering opportunities for independents to partner with these channels to support their businesses."

With regard to market segments, the rebuilt engine aftermarket is expected to lose market share to the remanufactured engine aftermarket. The remanufactured engines aftermarket is brand-oriented, with fleets reverting to the engine remanufacturer for repair and replacement. This apart, the remanufactured clutch segment generated more revenues than the new clutch segment in 2007. However, the remanufactured clutch segment is expected to lose revenue share over the forecast period because self-adjusting clutches have advanced self-adjustment mechanisms, parts for which are not readily available in the aftermarket.

"Given the supplier consolidation and vertical integration activities shown by the truck manufacturers, independent distributors, and service providers, manufacturers must focus on developing expertise in advanced powertrain, chassis, safety, telematics, and emission-related technologies to gain greater proximity to OEMs and complement their product planning processes. This will enable them to not only mitigate the challenge posed by vertical integration but also develop unique and specific competencies that will insulate their businesses from industry-wide consolidations."

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