ZF Services, the international aftersales specialist of ZF Friedrichshafen AG, and ZF Lenksysteme GmbH – a 50:50 joint venture between ZF and Robert Bosch GmbH – are restructuring their collaborative efforts: As of 2014, ZF Services will assume the responsibility for the international IAM business for steering gears, steering pumps, and steering columns. ZF Lenksysteme GmbH will focus on its core competencies of production and remanufacturing. Starting in 2014, the complete product portfolio will be sold by ZF Services under the new ZF Lenksysteme brand.
With the reorganization of the worldwide IAM activities, ZF Lenksysteme GmbH and ZF Services aim to achieve advantages for the customer in particular: “As of the beginning of 2014, customers can obtain the entire portfolio of high-quality complete units from one organization, at transparent terms and by using uniform logistics processes. At the same time, the new ZF Lenksysteme product brand opens up new sales opportunities – and this on a worldwide basis,” says Dr. Ulrich Walz, Member of the Board of Directors, ZF Services, responsible i.a. for Marketing and Market Development. As a first step, ZF Services plans, among other things, to optimize the availability of products and services as well as implement uniform measures to promote sales.
As one of the leading OEM suppliers for steering systems, ZF Lenksysteme GmbH accompanies its customers – renowned worldwide vehicle manufacturers – from the initial development phases through to the start of production. The resulting know-how and the corresponding quality standards are also reflected unchanged in the IAM complete units.
“Higher expectations as well as increasing technical complexity of the units and their impact on diagnosis and technical information, but also changing markets, necessitate optimized preparation, in the interest of the customer. This is why we are focusing on our development, production, and process competencies, which are manifested in all manufactured and remanufactured units,” explains Stephan von Schuckmann, responsible for the Global Aftermarket product field at ZF Lenksysteme GmbH.
Making sufficient quantities of used steering systems available for remanufacturing requires a well-organized reconditioning of used parts. ZF Services and ZF Lenksysteme GmbH have already established a reconditioning system in many European countries by means of a deposit system via wholesale distributors – worldwide expansion will follow.
The first catalog for the ZF Lenksysteme brand – “Steering Gears, Steering Pumps, and Steering Columns for Passenger Cars” – with the extended product range and in the new brand design will be issued for the international aftermarket trade fair, Equip’ Auto, in Paris (October 16 – 20, 2013). The design will also be incrementally transferred to packaging as well as information and promotional material. In 2014, ZF Services will expand the commercial vehicle product range to include steering gears and steering shafts for commercial vehicles and buses – one of the fastest growing service areas.
The ZF Parts product brand, under which ZF Services had sold steering units until now, will continue to stand for transmission components, such as oil change kits for automatic passenger car transmissions that were introduced in the spring of 2013. In order for customers to experience a smooth conversion to the new product brand, there is a transitional period until the end of the first quarter of 2014. In this way, ZF Services is ensuring that ordering processes run smoothly and that the changeover takes place with as little effort as possible.
Commenting on the impact of this restructuring in India Mr. Bernd Grasser, Head of ZF Services in India comments “With this restructuring of the range, we can tap even better into the still fast growing segment of high-end automobiles in India, and ZF Services can position itself as the leading supplier for thisproduct range. In addition in the near future further products will enable us to build our footprint also in the local segment of steering and suspension products. The long-term target for ZF Services, India is to be a competent supplier of all kind of steering and suspension products in the Indian aftermarket incl. steering gears, steering pumps and columns, the ZF Lenksysteme initiative is a further step on this”