Aisin's OE-quality aftermarket products and services deliver safety, comfort and peace of mind to drivers around the world
The automotive aftermarket, as it is commonly known, encompasses the sale of maintenance parts, services and vehicle accessories to consumers after they have purchased a vehicle. It includes a diverse range of products and services that are designed with OE quality to help vehicle users drive safely and comfortably...
Today, the automotive industry is undergoing a massive transformation, and the move toward electric vehicles is accelerating. Amid such circumstances, Aisin has placed a renewed focus on the automotive aftermarket as a business opportunity with anticipated rapid growth. But why? And what is the long term goal?
The answers to that question define the vision of Aisin’s aftermarket company.
Around 1.5 billion cars are on the road worldwide! The aim is to be a “department store of automotive parts.”
Aisin is focusing on the aftermarket business now, primarily due to the longevity of vehicles.
Generally, it is understood that the number of parts installed on a vehicle will decrease due to electrification, and at first glance, it could appear as thoughthe automotive aftermarket market is headed for a downward trend. However, with technological advances, the lifespan of vehicles is increasing, and there is a growing number of people who want to continue driving their beloved vehicles a longer period and are also willing to pay for proper andregular maintenance.
“It is said that there are currently about 1.5 billion vehicles on the road around the world, which means there’s a large market for repair and maintenance,” says Juichi Fujiwara, who heads the Business Planning Section at Aisin’s aftermarket company. “Furthermore, it is assumed that in emerging countries, today’s low income households will move up to the middle- class in the future, further growing the number of vehicles owned.”
Fujiwara came to Aisin after working at a trading company that handles auto parts. “I joined Aisin thinking that the knowledge I gained through selling auto parts directly to customers would be a strength to Aisin and could be put to much better use on the global stage,” he said.
As a comprehensive automotive parts manufacturer that develops and produces many of the parts that make up a vehicle, Aisin has cultivated vast technological development and manufacturing capabilities. Our vision is to leverage these strengths in aftermarket product development and expand Aisin’s aftermarket products and services to general users both locally and overseas, many of whom are new to Aisin’s capabilities. .
To this end, we plan to expand our lineup of aftermarket-exclusive products to approximately 70 items by the end of FY2023. Our ultimate goal is to become a “department store of automotive parts.”
Fujiwara also says that Aisin’s expertise that has been honed over many years of product development and manufacturing is now providing some distinct competitive advantages. This includesour ability to analyze and predict products in high demand in the aftermarket as well as being able to propose multiple products in an integrated manner, rather than single items separately.
Operating at 36 locations in 17 countries. Aiming to further expand into new markets
Currently, Aisin’s aftermarket business operates at 36 locations in 17 countries and sells products in more than 100 countries. To best develop markets globally, it is important to develop products that match the characteristics and needs of each country and region. Instead of stopping at being a mere wholesaler, Aisin conducts market research by visiting local maintenance shops and other facilities, and develops products that best suit the needs of each market. Staying close to the community to observe trends within the environment and listening to the voice of customers is the best way to achieve conscious, scalable aftermarket expansion.
The automotive aftermarket marketdemands products of “fair quality and fair price,” which address the two biggest customer requests – parts that last and won’t break the bank.
Going forward, Aisin is looking to develop markets beyond areas where the used car market is expected to grow, such as China, ASEAN, and Central and South America, but also to include new markets in Africa and India.
What has been discovered through store operation?
In 2022, Aisin launched a new business project by creating a storefront operation that sells car supplies and provides maintenance services.
By applying for a position through Aisin’s open entry system,*1 Kayo Shibata, who has been with the company for five years, has been involved in the operation of the James Komaki Minami Store, which Aisin has been operating*2 since last year.
“The main reason I raised my hand was that I wanted to do a job where I could listen directly to users. Aisin mainly conducts B2B business, so I didn’t have many opportunities to hear directly from users. However, since I started working at the store, I have had more contact with users, and I have gained many new insights. When it comes to something as simple as a product package, we can get useful information and hints for product improvement from user feedback.It is our important role to connect customers’ comments and suggestions to the commercialization of aftermarket products,” says Shibata.
*1 A voluntary application-based personnel transfer system to recruit new members are needed for a company-wide priority project where company makes an internal call for applications from employees who are interested in filling a position, and applicants are screened and selected.
*2 After establishing a new company, After-Sales Service Co., Ltd., as an operating company on April 1, 2022, Aisin commenced operation of the James Komaki Minami Store.
As you can imagine, there are numerous strategic competitive benefits of an auto parts manufacturer operating a store.
“We can help realize the development team’s desire to create an instruction manual while listening to the opinions of repair shop engineers who actually install parts,” said Shibata. “I feel that store operation also leads to speedy product development from the user’s perspective.”
The store focuses its energy on retailing products but also on enhancing services by increasing the number of car maintenance menu items.
“For Aisin’s aftermarket business, it is important to expand into the service business field and shift the focus from selling mere products to selling services. Adding value will lead to differentiation,” Shibata says.
Realizing freedom of movement that leaves no one behind
Aisin is fortunate to have dedicated human resources filled with a willingness to take on challenges. This will invigorate the Aftermarket Company, which is aiming to expand its business. The floor is full of energy and vitality, with highly motivated members with various backgrounds coming from various parts of the company.
“It is really fun to have meetings with colleagues from different fields of study (humanities, sciences, etc.) and from different departments within the company because unexpected opinions often come out. I have the mindset of ‘Let’s try anything once, and if you fail, learn from it’ and I feel even more motivated now,” says Shibata with a bright smile.
Aisin plans to further enhance the human resources of the Aftermarket Company to prepare for business expansion.
Fujiwara expresses his hopes for the future.
“The underlying reason why Aisin wants to enhance the aftermarket business is its strong desire to deliver safety, comfort and peace of mind to drivers around the world. We would like to realize a motorized society where all people can travel safely and comfortably with peace of mind and enjoy exciting experiences wherever they go, regardless of whether the environment surrounding automobiles is good or bad in their country. I would like to realize ‘freedom of movement’ that leaves no one behind.”
■ Click here for the official website of the aftermarket business