Impact of coronavirus on aftermarket discussed at first Automechanika talk

Brings together key international players, associations and supporters from the automotive aftermarket to discuss pressing topics.

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AutomechanikaThe first Automechanika talk titled ‘Automechanika – Let’s talk business’ brought together associations, important international players and supporters from the automotive aftermarket to discuss key topics.

The maiden talk of the series took place on 30 October as a digital event on the topic of the coronavirus and its impact on the automotive aftermarket.

Rolf Sudmann, Executive Vice President ContiTech, Manfred Baden, President Automotive Aftermarket Robert Bosch GmbH, Jean‑Francois Bouveyron, Vice President Aftermarket EMEA Delphi Technologies Aftermarket, Michael Söding, CEO Automotive Aftermarket Schaeffler AG, and Helmut Ernst, Senior Vice President Aftermarket ZF AG took part in the discussion.

Exchanging views

The leading international suppliers exchanged views on the coronavirus’ impact on the aftermarket and the challenges it poses for supply chains.

Jean-Francois Bouveyron, Vice President Aftermarket EMEA Delphi Technologies Aftermarket, said, “We are experiencing what is probably a once-in-a-lifetime crisis. And we have been on a roller-coaster for a number of months now.”

“Business declined dramatically in March, but it recovered significantly in summertime. To me, this demonstrated the resilience of the aftermarket, and it showed that it was able to do a far better job of coping with the crisis than the OE market could, for example,” he added.

“Like many parts manufacturers, we have to manage supply chains with a high international complexity. To be honest, this far-flung system was not very resilient during the spring when we were all facing the coronavirus crisis for the first time,” Rolf Sudmann, Executive Vice President ContiTech, said.

In some cases, production was shut down, and companies were confronted with the challenge of dealing with rising (often unscheduled) orders.

Michael Söding, CEO Automotive Aftermarket Schaeffler AG, said, “Establishing an effective crisis management system is the key.” Everything possible must be done to prevent the shutdown of production and logistics on account of coronavirus infections amongst the workforce.

“We have to focus on the health and safety of all our associates,” added Söding. The panel was also keen to point out that close contacts and dialogue with customers are extremely important for improving forecasting and reacting quickly and flexibly to changing situations.

Helmut Ernst, Senior Vice President Aftermarket ZF AG, said that COVID-19 has acted to further accelerate the consolidation process in the industry: “COVID-19 in combination with electric mobility and a shortage of funds have really propelled the consolidation process,” he added.

Following the first quarter, the supplier industry started a slow recovery, and companies learned a great deal from the situation that resulted from the coronavirus pandemic and global lockdown.

(With inputs from Automotive Lead Research Team)

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