Gates identifies thermostats as an area of strong product growth.
A prolonged period of cold weather, principally in February and March 2013 extended the replacement season for thermostats and caused a surge in sales. Gates is already reporting a sales rise of more than 50% in this sector compared with figures for 2012 – and 2012 was a record year!
All of which is good news for Gates’ motor factor customers, coming at a time when sales of many other product ranges seem to have flat-lined. Best known as a drive systems specialist, Gates is in fact one of Europe’s leading thermostat suppliers. Its sales forecast for the thermostat market in 2013 and beyond is continued growth as new innovations and OE trends begin to bite.
When thermostats fail the results can be disastrous. The development of fail-safe technology makes overheating unlikely and most failures these days result in overcooling. This leads to
- Poor engine performance
- Increased fuel consumption
- Higher emission levels
Generally, there are few issues with either thermostat reliability or the installation of replacements. Component failure is usually mileage and age-related. Most drivers only become aware of a problem when cabin heater performance declines, something that is usually detected during the winter months.
This brackets thermostats as distress purchase items over a limited period: two issues that can put motor factors under pressure from a stock management perspective.
Gates believes it has these angles covered thanks to a policy that consolidates seals and gaskets from several applications in a single box. Consequently, Gates is able to supply 93% of UK market requirements from just over 500 references.
This delivers a major saving in terms of shelf space for Gates customers, making it easier for you to supply the UK’s top selling thermostats.
|Top five by volume:||Top 5 by value:|
|1||Peugeot 1.1 (P)||Vauxhall Corsa 1.3 (D)|
|2||Subaru WRX 2.0 (P)||Vauxhall Zafira 1.9 (D)|
|3||Mitsubishi L200 2.5 (D)||Vauxhall Zafira 1.6 (P)|
|4||VW Golf Plus 1.9 (D)||Vauxhall Corsa 1.2 (P)|
|5||Vauxhall Corsa 1.2 (P)||BMW Compact 1.9 (P)|
|D: Diesel / P: Petrol|
Technology and trends
Gates invests heavily to ensure its product range reflects OE trends. Customers will have noticed the increasing dominance of manifold absolute pressure (MAP) technology in controlling thermostat regulation. This improves:
- Fuel efficiency
- Emission control
- Operational life
The total number of MAP thermostats sold looks set to increase by around 10% over the next two years. Gates has also responded to a move away from the installation of regular thermostat units. The latest OE trend favours designs that feature thermostats inside housing units. Some customers will be aware that this includes housings made of lightweight plastic rather than metal. This stems from VM weight reduction policies and the need for more lightweight engines.