Longer Vehicle Life Sustains Growth for Engine Control Units in North America

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MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA--Dec. 18, 2013: The rise in the average age of operational vehicles drives the North American aftermarket for engine control units (ECUs). Remanufactured ECUs, in particular, will find more takers due to the price difference between new and remanufactured units. In the long-term, the emphasis on fuel-system efficiency and electronic content in modern automobiles will ensure stable market growth.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (Frost Automotive), Opportunity Analysis of Engine Control Units (ECUs) in the North American Automotive Aftermarket, finds that the market earned revenue of $580.1 million in 2012 and estimates this to reach $721.3 million in 2019.

If you are interested in more information on this research, please send an e-mail to Jeannette Garcia, Corporate Communications, at jeannette.garcia@frost.com, with your full name, company name, job title, telephone number, company e-mail address, company website, city, state and country.

With people keeping their vehicles longer, the increasing number of aging vehicles generates replacement opportunities for the ECU aftermarket in North America. Moreover, escalating raw material prices and currency exchange fluctuations boost prices for new and remanufactured engine control units and spur market revenue.

"The need to comply with stricter emission and fuel economy standards makes ECUs complex," said Frost & Sullivan Automotive and Transportation Research Manager Stephen Spivey. "As sophisticated products enter the aftermarket and more foreign nameplate vehicles are serviced, the prices of ECUs will go up, thereby adding to manufacturers' margins."

Manufacturer-level revenue will increase by 3.2 percent annually over the 2012 to 2019 period, but restraints to growth remain. On the one hand rapid technological advances improve ECU quality, better longevity means that replacement rates are declining. At the same time, some consumers ignore the symptoms of a faulty ECU due to the associated high replacement costs, thereby slowing unit sales. The availability of cheap, low-quality Asian imports further curbs market development in the region.

Independent suppliers and repairers will lose their market share to auto dealerships in the original equipment service (OES) channel due to their lack of training, especially in terms of ECU failure diagnosis. In fact, the OES channel is best positioned to widen its consumer base as a result of excellent core management practices and a technological advantage over the independent aftermarket.

"Favorable pricing will be crucial for manufacturers to revive demand for remanufactured ECUs and expand their footprint," observed Spivey. "Aftermarket suppliers must also build strong partnerships with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and foreign participants over the medium- to long-term to overcome technological challenges, share key proprietary information, leverage the installed base of different OEMs, and satisfy the aftermarket's all-makes-and-models coverage benchmark."

Opportunity Analysis of Engine Control Units (ECUs) in the North American Automotive Aftermarket is part of the Automotive & Transportation Growth Partnership Service program. Frost & Sullivan's related research services include: Analysis of the North American Remanufactured Engine Aftermarket, Strategic Analysis of the 2012 North American Wiper Blade Aftermarket, Opportunity Analysis of eRetailing for Automotive Parts and Service in the North American Market, North American Class 4–8 Commercial Vehicle Wheel End Brake Components Aftermarket, and Strategic Analysis of North American Class 6-8 Trucks Selected Powertrain and Safety Remanufactured Electronics, among others. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.

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