Sealing plays its durability

A market in decline, but not the last word. Between the health crisis, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, inflation or even the transformation of the car market aging of the car fleetIn 2020, the average age of a car in Europe was 9.3 years, but in 2022 it will be 10 years. technologically and business mature. However, the price ratio of gaskets and labor can be economically absurd compared to the cost of the vehicle, except in the case of a heavy truck. Whether it’s Corteco, Ajusa, Elring or even Payen, equipment manufacturers are unanimous: the sealing market is flat and even trending down. Stock aging is therefore a good opportunity. Some parts are more or less uncomfortable, for example cylinder head or manifold gaskets are down when the dynamic gasket is up. Current economic conditions have also determined inflation for the long term. When it comes to the sealant market, it has increased its prices between 3-6 % up to 7% over two years, depending on families, including material and transportation costs. There were shortages in the market, especially in rings, and it was necessary to restart the factories and hope to return to normal in 2023.

As Ajusa France, managing director of Michel Rodriguez, points out: “The automotive sector is changing”. And to add: It should be noted that technological change means that the disappearance of internal combustion engines in Europe will be a fact in the medium to long term. This reality weakens the aftermarket sector and especially all engine-related product families, as with sealing products.. However, as confirmed by Corteco’s commercial director Pierre Baulu, equipment manufacturers continue to expand the sealing family. The brand dedicated to the aftermarket of the Freudenberg group enriches its product range by introducing more than 30 new references in sealing. In detail, the sealing range is equipped with three VAG sealing rings ” first to market », with a ring for a manual gearbox, a ring for an automatic gearbox and a differential ring. These include valve stem seals (for Dacia Dokker/Duster or Renault Clio IV/Scénic IV) and cylinder head gasket (for Renault H4M engine). To date, Corteco offers 5,408 seals and kits, 4,998 rings, 305 valve stem seals, 227 cylinder head bolts, thus covering 85% of the European vehicle fleet.

Impermeability to energy transition

Admittedly,the arrival of electric vehicles tarnishes the future of the market a bit, but equipment manufacturers, due to economic logic, participate in sealing with manufacturers and provide replacement opportunities for electric and hybrid cars. They believe that sealing still has a bright future, as evidenced by their experience in original equipment. According to Pierre Baulu, what is important is to offer a proposal related to the needs of the park. The sealing market deserves to be defended. There is room for everyone.

On Elring’s side, the goal is for 2023 stock double. As the energy transition continues, the equipment manufacturer has injected 30 million euros in its R&D department In 2021 and 2022, with the idea of ​​mastering lithium-ion battery technology, especially sealing and discharging. So, despite the seemingly flat market, equipment manufacturers can rest assured: seals will always be needed in the stretch electric car.” business opportunities », as noted by Pierre Baulu. Michel Rodríguez (Ajusa) confirms this: the outlook for the coming years is not as bleak as it seems and there will always be opportunities. Most importantly: the longer the life of the car, the the greater the need for repairs, the greater the activity of parts manufacturers, distributors and mechanics.

Finally, Corteco intends to build its dynamism in original equipment with applications for electric and hybrid vehicles that will be available in the aftermarket in 2024. The goal of equipment manufacturers such as Corteco is to continue the development of families dedicated to electric power to meet their needs and ensure sustainability, while thinking about additional sales associated with changes in vehicles.

[Dossier complet dans le magazine n°177]

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