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Rack and Pinion Steering Gear Aftermarket on the Right Road

Rack and Pinion Steering Gears Cut into Conventional Recirculating Ball Steering Gear Market Shares

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Customers increasingly prefer rack and pinion steering gears to recirculating ball steering gears due to their use of fewer parts, space and weight savings, lower remanufacturing costs, and greater durability.

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Although greater durability hinders unit shipment growth, the longevity and affordability of the remanufactured product appeals to fleet operators and truck owners, thereby increasing the number of consumers in the aftermarket.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, U.S. Remanufactured Rack and Pinion Steering Gear Aftermarket, finds that the market earned revenues of $121.0 million in 2006 and estimates this to reach $151.3 million in 2013.

The remanufactured rack and pinion steering gear aftermarket demonstrates a tendency toward commoditization as price represents a vital purchase factor. Fierce price wars at the remanufacturer and distributor levels reduce profit margins across the distribution chain.

“Rack and pinions for import nameplate vehicle applications are generally costlier due to higher original equipment (OE) pricing of new units, raw material costs, and core costs stemming from lower availability,” says Frost & Sullivan Industry Manager Avijit Ghosh. “On average, there is approximately a $40 to $60 spread between rack and pinions in import nameplate vehicles from those in domestic-made vehicles.”

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The production as well as sale of Japanese and European nameplate vehicles in the United States has steadily increased. This trend could help increase the overall weighted average price of steering gears in the future and decelerate commoditization.

Meanwhile, the proliferation of vehicle models has caused a simultaneous rise in the amount of part numbers that distributors must stock. In fact, part numbers have increased at a faster rate than vehicle models due to the multiple applications of rack and pinion steering gears per vehicle model.

“The increasing proliferation of parts contributes to unit shipment demand, since distributors must stock a greater number of parts to meet market demand,” notes Ghosh. “Overcapacity and oversupply of rack and pinions, primarily for domestic vehicles, give the customers a wide range of options.”

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Currently, the aftermarket generates annual unit sales of just over 1 million, which supports less than 1 percent of the total vehicle population of 244 million, thereby proving that a vast untapped market exists in the United States. For instance, in 2006, nearly 70% to 80% of the light vehicle population was fitted with rack and pinion steering gear systems and this share continues to steadily increase.

For more information, visit http://www.frost.com.

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