Published on December 19, 2013

Frost: Commercial brake sales expected to grow

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (Dec. 19, 2013) — Sales of brake components for Class 4-8 commercial vehicles in the U.S. will grow about 4 percent a year through 2019 due to urbanization and increased traffic congestion, according to a new report from market researcher Frost & Sullivan Inc.

Traffic congestion causes a surge in stop-and-go traffic, which translate into higher wear on wheel end brake components, according to, “Strategic Analysis of the North American Class 4-8 Commercial Vehicle Wheel End Brake Components Aftermarket.”

The Mountain View-based research firm estimates the U.S. commercial brake market will grow to $906.5 million in 2019 from $705.8 million in revenue in 2012. The research covered the product segments of drums, rotors, calipers and wheel hubs. Among these categories, pneumatic drum brakes and hydraulic brake rotors are the primary revenue drivers.

“Despite being at a mature phase, the Class 4-8 wheel-end market is expected to grow on the heels of economic recovery, CSA 2010 compliance and tighter regulations,” the Frost report said. “High standards of fleet equipment and maintenance practices are in place to minimize accidents and protect cargo. This along with an aging truck population has increased the demand for aftermarket service and maintenance.”

According to Frost & Sullivan Automotive & Transportation Industry Analyst Wallace Lau, “Technological advancements with a focus on the reduction in weight and form factor along with the advancement in the safety and durability of future wheel end components are a must.

“Such improvements could also arrest the tapering of profit margins caused by the increasing instability in the price and availability of steel and other inputs.”

Frost noted intense market competition from low-cost imports is pressuring domestic manufacturers to lower their prices to compete.

“Domestic players are expected to implement strategic plans to combat this issue using a good-better-best product portfolio to meet the unique needs of all fleet price points, age of trucks, and needs,” Mr. Lau said.

These premium product portfolios, along with competitive pricing, are expected to meet the challenges posed by inadequate product differentiation, high price sensitivity, and the strong purchasing power of distributors, the firm said. This will drive distribution channel revenue in the OE service channel, it added..

“Pricing, most of all, is the key competitive ingredient in a mature market,” Mr. Lau said. “Outsourcing from low-cost regions is one sure way to enhance price competitiveness. However, it is essential to enforce rigorous assurance testing to protect brand integrity.”

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