By Pramod Thomas
ZF, the Global leader in driveline and chassis technology, is looking at an opportune moment to launch its premium two-wheeler products in India. “We are evaluating the adaptability of these products to the local market,” Vijay D Khorgade, Head, ZF Aftermarket India, told AutoParts Asia on the sidelines of ACMA Automechanika 2019 in New Delhi, India.
Globally, under TRW brand (which ZF acquired in 2015), the company is offering Brake Systems, Clutch Systems, Footrest Systems, Steering Systems, Chassis and Equipment, Handlebar Systems etc to high-end motorcycles. The company has not yet introduced them in India.
“We have products under TRW for the premium two-wheeler segment. If we see an increase in the number of the high-end two-wheelers in India, we will think of bringing them to India. There are no immediate plans, but we are looking into this. We are not in the mass market segment. For the premium segment, we have the product range and we will see when we can introduce such products in the market,” Khorgade said.
He hailed the initiatives spearheaded by the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA) to address the issue of spurious parts. Owing to the increasing sensitivity towards maintaining vehicles in a better way in India, there has been drastic drop in the use of fake products. “Spurious parts impact the vehicle’s performance especially in critical scenarios. These lead to accidents and fatalities. ACMA Aftermarket Committee is also looking into that aspect which is really good for the country. In certain areas, the situation is really bad and needs improvement. As a manufacturer of OE components, we are always looking into this aspect and we provide our products to the market. In India, the middle-class income is growing and this is really helping to maintain vehicles in a better way. Now, the customers insist on the OE or OE-quality parts. Besides, there has been an increase in preventive maintenance or scheduled maintenance,” Khorgade said. India’s lack of an aftermarket regulation is one of the hindrances in the country as there are lots of unorganised players in the market, he said.
ZF says that to ensure that vehicles move efficiently, safely, dynamically and reliably, its products are the first choice in driveline, chassis and safety systems for passenger cars, trucks, buses and motorcycles. ZF’s Aftermarket Division is heavily involved in developing tomorrow’s mobility and derives the appropriate agenda for the future of the aftermarket. With tailor-made solutions for the after-sales market and with its established product brands ZF, Lemförder, Sachs and TRW, ZF Aftermarket is well-positioned. Now, TRW is one of the product brands of ZF. In India, these products are available in the aftermarket through ZF Aftermarket. So this is a combined organisation now.
See, Think, Act
Khorgade said to ‘See, Think, Act’ is the guiding principle of ZF. “We believe in see it, think it and accordingly act on it. The first step is to see where you can see a component like Lidar, a camera, which enables the vehicles to see things. Then in the think part, we have an end-processor which can process it and then we have the ZF Car Connect, which is the act part. This is one product for the aftermarket which derives from digitalisation,” he said.
“Digitalisation and the new concept of mobility will have an impact on the aftermarket. This will challenge our conventional aftermarket and service models. On the one hand, it requires a readiness to question familiar business models, identify the potential of vehicle and user data, derive attractive business opportunities and implement them. On the other hand, market participants have to align even more strongly with customer expectations by offering more individualised mobility services. Here, a comprehensive understanding of the systems and technical know-how remains the most important foundation. The ZF Car Connect for the mix-fleet is one such product. It is sort of a Vivaldi unit, you can plug it into the vehicle and it can read almost 74 signals from the vehicle’s On-board diagnostics (OBD) interface and then process it. For example braking, oil level, sudden changes because of the driver’s distraction, payload increase because of driving all signals based on the user’s requirements it generates and then passes to the dashboard. This is the unit which can be helpful for the mixed fleet to manage their fleet efficiently. This is the think-related product. In addition, the onboard unit transfers GPS and live data when changes in velocity suddenly occur. Openmatics registers and interprets this data. Smart networking of individual systems via telematics is a key element in the rapid process of digitalisation. Particularly when it comes to steering fleets, ZF’s connectivity solution Car Connect has tangible benefits, as it is based on a smart and open connectivity platform and works independently of the vehicle manufacturers,” Khorgade said.
Sachs CDC Shock Absorbers
ZF launched Sachs CDC shock absorbers for the high-end European passenger cars for the first time in India at ACMA Automechanika. The Sachs CDC (Continuous Damping Control) dampers for cars allow for efficient damping optimisation for each wheel within split seconds due to an electronically-controlled proportional damping valve. Sensors monitor all influences, from the road condition and payload to the driver’s actions. A control unit then exactly regulates the damping force. This electronic damper control enables maximum stability even in critical situations. The driver benefits from short stopping distances, faster steering responsiveness and more control when changing lanes. In a nutshell, Sachs CDC shock absorbers provide maximum driving, dynamics and ride comfort. “It is safer and even in critical conditions the vehicle stability is more,” he said.
By 2030, ZF expects around 30 percent of global automotive production to be focused on all-electric or hybrid electric vehicles. “Worldwide, we will see an increase in electrically-powered vehicles and transportation systems that are highly automated or even driving autonomously, especially in urban environments. For the Indian automotive aftermarket, a study conducted by ACMA highlights vehicle telematics among other things as a key trend. Therefore, data-based services will be major sales generators in the future. The networked workshop of the future knows the status of its customers’ vehicles and recommends preventive maintenance or repair to the owner based on current vehicle data. In India, the evolving taxi market and taxi fleet operators will benefit from the telematics solution as mixed fleets can be managed and maintained more efficiently,” Khorgade added.
When asked about data protection, and the debate on ‘who owns data,’ Khorgade said that data is often protected and aftermarket players like them experience difficulties when it comes to service-related topics. He added that the gathering of data is really important. ZF Aftermarket continues to focus on the Indian market by increasing its coverage for the passenger car segment.