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NGK looks for growth from independents

NGK Spark Plugs (UK) plans to intensify efforts to attract business from the independent garage sector this year.

Research by aftermarket research company GiPA UK shows that NGK last year supplied glow plugs to more than a 50% share of the independent garage sector, compared to 34% in 2003. And it currently has a 65% share of the spark plug market with independents.

This follows an ongoing campaign to target garage owners, such as through direct mailings to 30,000 workshops on NGK’s database, attending trade events like last month’s ATS Show, and promotions at motor factors.

More than 4,000 independent workshops have signed up to NGK’s Boxclever loyalty programme since it was launched a year ago. The scheme encourages independent garage owners to collect the box tops of spark plug boxes and redeem them for a range of free gifts. Another programme, Milesmore, offers similar incentives to wholesalers.

Brian Childs, NGK UK deputy managing director, sales and marketing, says: “We’ve seen an increase in sales – first quarter this year is up 15% against the same period last year, that’s conquest business from our competitors as well – but it’s not necessarily about that. We’re trying to keep in communication with our customers and focus more on returns than growth.”

Longer lifecycles of spark plugs and glow plugs means that volumes in the market are declining, says Childs; however the values and profits are increasing because of the higher technology involved.

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