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Visteon to storm UK ICE afterfit market

Ford spin-off Visteon has set itself targets to become a leading supplier of OE and afterfit mobile electronics and to be a major player in the crash parts aftermarket.

The push comes after a shake-up of Visteon’s UK distribution structure and a determined move to raise the brand’s profile.

A raft of new Visteon-branded in-car radio, MP3 CD, DVD and TV products has been launched and an extended range of DIN audio and DVD satnavs will be introduced at Automechanika in September, along with a full programme of replacement air-conditioning parts and lighting products. The company will also be offering consumers a direct on-line ICE service.

Jacques de Ladonchamps, appointed general manager aftermarket Europe and South America in March this year (his 30-year automotive industry CV includes posts as Audi AG’s service and parts director and chief of BMW’s global technical support services), says the independent aftermarket – particularly for aircon and lighting crash parts replacement – is crucial to Visteon’s growth.

“There will be fewer repairs, but more replacements. People just don’t have the expertise to repair parts, nor is it economical to do so,” he says. “Insurance companies are getting under increasing pressure, too – they need to find better ways to save money. One way is to get the customers away from the franchised dealers. That’s unfortunate for the franchised dealer, but that is the way if you want to save costs.”

Four years ago, Visteon had virtually no aftermarket business. Last year, says de Ladonchamps, the company’s afterfit business brought in $992m from a total turnover of $17.7bn. Globally, Visteon now expects to increase its aftermarket turnover by about 10% a year.

“Hella makes 30% of its turnover in the aftermarket. There’s big potential,” he adds. “But we’ve got to have the range.” De Ladonchamps says that to ensure a broad cover of applications Visteon would look at exchange deals with other manufacturers, particularly on coolant systems.”

Stuart Jackson, UK and South Africa aftermarket sales manager, describes Visteon as “still a baby, but a noisy one”, and adds it is achieving penetration of the insurance crash repair business and has not ruled out forming relationships with some of the buying groups.

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