Auto Service World
News   October 13, 2010   by CARS Magazine

Research and Markets: North American Brakes Aftermarket – Sales of Higher-priced Brake Pads Poised to Drive Growth in the North American Friction Parts Aftermarket

Research and Markets ( has announced the addition of Frost & Sullivan's new report "North American Brakes Aftermarket: Friction Parts" to their offering.

Research and Markets ( has announced the addition of Frost & Sullivan’s new report “North American Brakes Aftermarket: Friction Parts” to their offering.

This service analyzes brake pads and brake shoes in the automotive aftermarket in the United States and Canada. It includes unit shipment and revenue forecasts, pricing analyses, distribution channel analyses, market share analyses, industry challenges, and market drivers and restraints. The base year is 2009. Forecasts are provided from 2010-2016, and historical data is provided for 2006-2008. Within brake pads, the market is further segmented into Good, Better and Best product lines, and by material type into semi-metallic and ceramic/NAO. There are two companion services connected to this research. They are North American Brakes Aftermarket: Rotors and Drums and North American Brakes Aftermarket: Calipers and Hydraulic Components.

This research service titled North American Brakes Aftermarket: Friction Parts provides unit shipment and revenue forecasts, market drivers and restraints, distribution channel analyses, and market share analyses. In this research, Frost & Sullivan’s expert analysts thoroughly examine the following markets: automotive brake pads and shoes.

Sales of Higher-priced Brake Pads Poised to Drive Growth in the North American Friction Parts Aftermarket

The North American friction parts aftermarket, which includes brake pads and brake shoes, generated manufacturer-level revenues of US$1,383.2 million in 2009. Increasing vehicle age, which puts more cars and trucks in the prime replacement period for brake components, and newer vehicle applications that require more expensive parts will drive future growth. Friction parts will generate steady growth for manufacturers and distributors in the aftermarket, with demand for premium pads and shoes growing at the expense of low-priced products.

As production has shifted away from North America, an increasing number of distributors, installers, and vehicle owners are willing to pay for higher product quality, better warranty terms, and reliable customer service rather than for a low-priced replacement part.

Once regarded as a high-performance upgrade, manufacturers now position their best lines as the new industry standard, notes the analyst of this research service. Companies that compete mainly on the basis of price leadership have lost market share over the past two years, even in a poor economic environment. In response to the markets current quality focus, suppliers must carefully align the pricing of their good, better and best line-up to support the value of their premium offerings.

Strong private-label competition from leading distributors threatens the brand value of traditional manufacturers. Most retail and wholesale customers promote their own in-house brands at the expense of traditional suppliers, which have invested large sums to build brand loyalty. This trend diminishes the power of manufacturers to enhance their value, since the companys name is no longer on the product.

Private-label brands such as NAPA, Carquest, Duralast, and Brake Best account for about half of friction parts sales in the aftermarket. That hurts traditional aftermarket brands such as Raybestos, Bendix, and Wagner, and forces manufacturers to compete with their own distributors.

Manufacturers must be prepared to position and defend the value of their brands against low-priced alternatives. They should focus on superior product quality and customer service so that distributors, installers, and vehicle owners will pay more for a recognized brand. Suppliers still cannot afford to overlook the opportunities in private labeling. However, the profit margins are lower in this market segment. Manufacturers are unlikely to survive over the medium to long term if their customers are not willing to carry the companys own brand, which allows it to recover the cost of developing, testing, marketing, and supporting its products.

To drive growth, the aftermarket should identify and attract customers that have deferred the purchase of a new vehicle or maintenance of their existing car or truck because of the current economic recession, says the analyst. Suppliers must also be able to demonstrate that their products will reduce service comebacks and drive repeat business. The best market entry strategy for manufacturers is to become a second- or third-line offering to warehouse distributors (WDs), carrying leading brands such as Wagner, Raybestos, and Bendix that serve area installers/technicians.

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