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NGK aims to be glow plug leader

The world's number one supplier of spark plugs, NGK, has announced its intention to lead the UK glow plug aftermarket.

The Japanese brand has 50 per cent of Britain's spark market, more than double that of its nearest competitor, Bosch.

But NGK, Bosch, Champion and Beru have roughly equal shares in replacement diesel plug sector - and that's a situation NGK's automotive division director Brian Childs has vowed to change.

“We're now placing a major sales and marketing effort behind our glow plug range, similar to that which we have placed successfully behind our spark plug range in the past,” says Childs.

He believes that OE success - NGK supplies glow plugs for the Peugeot 206 and 307, the latest Ford Fiesta, Citroen C3 and a range of Renault, Nissan and Vauxhall models - will help drive the brand to its aftermarket share target. Although Childs won't be pushed on setting a deadline, insiders reckon NGK's UK operation believes it can achieve leadership within five years.

“There are only four top glow plug brands in the UK market, including NGK, with no single company having a dominant market share. But this is all set to change as the UK diesel market continues to grow,” says Childs.

UK sales of diesel cars in the first half of 2002 were 48 per cent up on the same period last year and made up a total of 23 per cent of total registrations.

With the SMMT predicting a record 2.51 million new car sales by the end of the year, diesels are expected to account for at least 600,000 units.

Britain has one of the smallest diesel car parcs in Europe, but it is growing rapidly as new technology rids diesels of their agricultural image and drivers seek to reduce their tax liabilities through opting for cars with lower CO2 emissions.

Analysts are predicting that 50 per cent of new car sales could be diesel by 2007.

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