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Plugs drive Denso’s push

Japanese supplier Denso will use its range of spark plugs to strengthen its foothold in the UK after- market, according to the comp-any’s senior personnel.

Hitoshi Kurata, a general manager in the company’s sales and marketing department, says Denso, which is currently ranked the world’s third biggest OEM supplier based on parts sales, will target the entire European Union market through “big investment”.

“The European aftermarket is important to us and we will kick-start our presence through spark plug sales,” Kurata says.

Denso’s managing officer, Kenji Ohya, adds that global sales of Japanese cars had led the company to take a new direction.

“Denso has woken up to the decision it must go into the aftermarket – we have not paid enough attention to this sector,” he says.

Denso admits that Bosch has a firm grip on the European spark plug market, but will draw on its experience in the Japanese aftermarket to boost its European sales. While Denso’s aftermarket activities currently account for 8% of its sales, the company expects this to increase to 10% by 2010.

The company has singled out UK, Italian and Russian markets to test sales. And according to Denso UK Aftermarket Sales’ assistant manager, Marco Wowczyna, the company will use its plugs offering to raise its profile, before introducing other product ranges.

“We are a bit late, but we see an opportunity here. However, NGK entered the UK market when Champion was the dominant force,” Wowczyna says.

He says Denso is reviewing its glow plugs offering, after which it could introduce its rotating electrics’ range, followed by radiators and condensers.

In the meantime a concerted marketing and PR campaign will target factors and garages. “Response to the plugs range has been positive, with businesses keen to take up the brand. We’re growing sales against our competitors and once factors and garages understand who we are, nine out of 10 will take our offering,” Wowczyna predicts.

A series of regional campaigns will promote the Denso plugs range, which will be “tailored to factor’s specific needs”.

“We’ll target both motor factors and the garages, and you have to give garages a back-to-basics approach. We need to keep it as easy as possible to deal with Denso,” Wowczyna says.

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