Strength Through Regulations, Quality Through StandardsSat, 09/01/2018 - 11:29
Q: What is Fast Autopartes strategy to continue growing in the brake component segment?
A: We entered a commercial alliance with a distributor of electrical and fuel-injection components called CIOSA that has a sales channel of 20 distribution centers in Mexico. This alliance will enable Fast Autopartes to grow and reach a 3-percent market share in the brake-pads segment by the end of 2018 and 5 percent in 2019. Another promising sales channel is e-commerce and we have already started a project to sell more of our components through digital means. Only around 3 percent of our sales come from e-commerce but we are confident this will increase over time.
Q: What impact will the arrival of Chinese OEMs and suppliers have on the Mexican aftermarket?
A: The Mexican aftermarket will grow as long as vehicles are sold. Chinese OEMs will increase competition in the segment of low-cost vehicles where OEMs such as Toyota and Nissan are present. In terms of spare parts, the Mexican consumer has learned to recognize the importance of quality over price. That being said, Chinese manufacturers are building increasingly better products. Low-quality spare parts have become less common as the Asian manufacturing industry adopts international quality standards. These markets have had to improve to sell their components all over the planet. Before, it was hard to come across high-quality brake pad manufacturing plants in China but things have changed and now more Chinese companies comply with the standards necessary to meet our expectations.
Q: What led the Mexican consumer away from cheap, low-quality products?
A: The market is learning that buying cheap spare parts is not always a good idea because the savings achieved when purchasing these products are lost in repairs. The Mexican aftermarket has developed a taste for standard quality spare parts that work well at commercial prices. There is a wide spectrum in the Mexican aftermarket where service and complete inventories make all the difference. People in this market segment do not look for top-of-the-line, cutting-edge European or US technology that costs three or four times the price of an average spare part but expect a quality level that ensures their components will not cause problems.
Q: How can stronger regulations on brake-pad quality increase vehicle safety?
A: Regulation in the Mexican aftermarket is an issue that the Ministry of Economy and several chambers of commerce should address to protect national manufacturers from low-quality imports. Regulations on braking components are not as pressing as in other segments. However, because Mexican companies hold 60 percent of this niche, iit is difficult for foreign companies to showcase products that will endanger users. Fast Autopartes looks for an edge over competitors in the Mexican market by earning international certifications. All the components we import comply with international quality standards and original equipment norms that aftermarket components should meet. The more regulations there are in the aftermarket, the more Mexico’s auto parts manufacturing industry will grow and only the companies that meet original equipment specifications will be allowed to import and sell components.
Q: How do you expect NOM-012 on auxiliary brakes for heavy vehicles will impact the Mexican aftermarket?
A: Any regulation that improves a vehicle’s performance results in a benefit for the spare parts market. Fast Autopartes collaborates with interurban bus companies that already equip electro-mechanic brakes in their vehicles to increase the useful life and efficiency of their brake pads. Friction technology to slow down and stop a vehicle as brake pads do is difficult to replace. An electro-mechanic brake may increase the useful life of brake pads by up to 40 percent and slow down a moving vehicle, but friction will always be necessary to stop the unit completely.