How Mahle plans to help shops going forward

As vehicles shift from conventional engines to more technologically advanced powertrains, Mahle has pledged to assist service and repair ships through the transition.

Olaf Henning, corporate executive vice president and general manager of aftermarket at Mahle, outlined the future for the parts manufacturer during a late-July press conference in Germany. He specifically noted how his company would support shops as vehicles move away from internal combustion engines.

“The market is changing, and this process has accelerated even further in the exceptional circumstances of 2020,” Henning said. “The automobile manufacturers are moving ahead with the switch to alternative drive systems.”

And so, Mahle’s focus has changed going forward. It is researching and developing products for electric motor, fuel cell, and non-fossil-fuel-operated combustion engines. The fruits of its labour will be solutions for the automotive aftermarket, he said.

“With our transformation to sustainable mobility, we can show independent workshops how to safeguard their maintenance business in the future,” Henning observed.

Because Mahle works with original equipment manufacturers, the company can anticipate what market and technological trends are on the horizon.

“And we’re transforming the challenges faced by independent workshops into opportunities and new areas of business relating to diagnostics, calibration, thermal management and fluid management,” Henning added.

This doesn’t mean Mahle is leaving the traditional products behind. “Classic products,” as Henning put it, such as engine components and filters are still being made and supplied to shops.

“Here, too, the change is evident—if we look at our filtration business, for example, Mahle Aftermarket now has 200 cabin filters for electric vehicles, 80 oil and fuel filters for hybrid vehicles, and 70 air filters for vehicles with fuel cell or hybrid drives.”

To remain a strong partner with shops, the company has identified four areas of strategy for its aftermarket business unit: Digitalization; Fair competition and new areas of business for independent workshops; Expansion of its workshop equipment services; Expansion of its thermal management business.

Still, the shift to electric mobility poses challenges to an industry where it has overwhelmingly serviced a single type of vehicle. “They need to develop expertise in repairing electric cars and must not fall behind contract workshops in this respect,” Henning said.

He added that the company ensures that independent shops have access to vehicle data, functions and resources. “We’re constantly investing in solutions that will guarantee this access continues without discrimination in the future. For this reason, we’re involved in the Caruso project, among other initiatives, in which cross-manufacturer vehicle data is made available to workshops.”

Caruso is a neutral and open data and service marketplace where data suppliers can offer both telematic and complementary data to the automotive aftermarket. The more suppliers that are in the marketplace, the more diverse the possibilities.