Sealing plays its role

A market in decline, but which has not said his last word. Between the health crisis, the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, inflation or even the change of the car market led to aging of the vehicle fleetfrom an average age of a vehicle in Europe of 9.3 years in 2020 to 10 years in 2022. And aging favors the sealing problem and thus supports a market that mature in technology and in terms of business. However, the ratio of gasket price and labor can be economically absurd compared to the cost of the vehicle, unless it is a heavy truck. Be it Corteco, Ajusa, Elring or even Payen, equipment manufacturers are united: the sealing market is flat, and likely to fall. Aging stock is therefore a good opportunity. Some parts are more or less concerned, for example the cylinder head or manifold gasket is down, when the dynamic gasket has an upward orientation. Current economic conditions also set inflation for the long term. Regarding the sealing market, it has its prices increased between 3 and 6 % depending on the families, even 7% over two years, including the cost of materials and transportation. The market has also experienced shortages, especially in rings, and it is necessary to restart factories, and hopes to return to normal in 2023.

As Michel Rodriguez, Managing Director Ajusa France points out: “The automotive sector is changing”. And add: It should be noted that technological change means that in the medium and long term in Europe the disappearance of internal combustion engines will become a reality. This fact weakens the aftermarket sector and more specifically all product families related to the engine, as is the case with sealing products.. However, as confirmed by Pierre Baulu, Commercial Director of Corteco, equipment manufacturers continue to expand the sealing family. The aftermarket-oriented brand of the Freudenberg group enriches its product ranges by marketing more than 30 new sealing references. In detail, the sealing range is equipped with three VAG sealing rings ” first-to-market », with a ring for a manual gearbox, a ring for an automatic gearbox and a differential ring. Added to this are the valve stem seals (for Dacia Dokker/Duster or Renault Clio IV/Scénic IV) and the cylinder head gasket (for Renault H4M engines). Today, Corteco offers 5,408 seals and kits, 4,998 rings, 305 valve stem seals, 227 cylinder head bolts, thus covering 85% of the European car fleet.

Impermeability in the face of energy transfer

Admittedly, thethe arrival of electric vehicles slightly undermines the future of the market, but the equipment manufacturers, through economic logic, remain present in sealing the manufacturers and ensure the opportunities in the replacement of electric and hybrid vehicles. They believe that sealing still has a bright future, as proven by their experience with the original equipment. The important thing, according to Pierre Baulu, is to propose a coherent offer related to the needs of the park. The sealing market deserves to be defended. There is room for everyone.

On Elring’s side, the goal for 2023 is double the stock. While the energy transfer is underway, the equipment manufacturer injects 30 million euros in its R&D department in 2021 and 2022, especially with the idea of ​​mastering lithium-ion battery technology, in addition to sealing and emptying. So, despite a market that may seem flat, equipment manufacturers can be sure: there will always be demand for seals in an electric vehicle, which reaches ” business opportunities », as Pierre Baulu points out. Michel Rodriguez (Ajusa) confirmed this: for the coming years, the outlook is not as bleak as it seems and there are always opportunities. The most important: longer life of the car, the greater the need for repair, the greater the activity of manufacturers, distributors and mechanics of spare parts.

Finally, Corteco intends to build on its original equipment dynamism with regard to applications for electric and hybrid vehicles, which will be available during 2024 in the aftermarket. The goal of equipment manufacturers, such as Corteco, is to pursue the development of families focused on electricity to meet their needs and ensure sustainability, while thinking about additional sales associated with changes in car

[Dossier complet dans le magazine n°177]

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