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AFTERMARKET GLOBAL

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All Indicators Point to Growth

Potential in the Bus Business

Urbanization and increasing population figures in newly industrialized countries mean the global market for buses is growing by around five percent annually. 600,000 new buses are forecast worldwide through 2017. China alone accounts for almost 30 percent of global demand – followed by India with growth rates of 10 percent. Bus fleets are, however, also being expanded in Europe, Africa and South America. (Source: Multiclient-Study „Buses – Global Market Trend“ by SCI Verkehr).

The challenges are similar in all markets: Long downtime periods make any bus fleet unprofitable and need to be prevented also due to the cost pressure. The demand for rapid spare parts delivery poses a challenge for dealers and service partners, while workshops are having to contend with increasingly complex technology.

Urbanization and increasing population figures in newly industrialized countries mean the global market for buses is growing by around five percent annually. 600,000 new buses are forecast worldwide through 2017. China alone accounts for almost 30 percent of global demand – followed by India with growth rates of 10 percent. Bus fleets are, however, also being expanded in Europe, Africa and South America. (Source: Multiclient-Study „Buses – Global Market Trend“ by SCI Verkehr).

The challenges are similar in all markets: Long downtime periods make any bus fleet unprofitable and need to be prevented also due to the cost pressure. The demand for rapid spare parts delivery poses a challenge for dealers and service partners, while workshops are having to contend with increasingly complex technology.

Interview with a ZF Aftermarket expert

for the bus business

Dr. Michael Störk, Head of Sales Original Equipment Supplier (OES), Commercial Vehicle Product Segment, is a ZF Aftermarket expert for the bus business and therefore explains what service offerings can be used to leverage efficiently the potential associated with fleet business.
Interview with Dr. Michael Störk
Dr. Michael Störk, Head of Sales Original Equipment Supplier (OES), Commercial Vehicle Product Segment, is a ZF Aftermarket expert for the bus business and therefore explains what service offerings can be used to leverage efficiently the potential associated with fleet business.
Interview with Dr. Michael Störk

Question: Dr. Störk, the market for intercity buses is currently growing fast not just in Europe. In many newly industrialized countries, buses constitute the most important mode of transport. What does that mean for ZF Aftermarket and its partners?

Dr. Michael Störk: In Europe the intercity bus market is actually on the upswing. As a result, the number of intercity bus journeys in Germany, for instance, grew by 36 percent over the past year. Even large operators tend not to run their routes with their own buses, but outsource to small and mid-sized subcontractors. Ticket prices have fallen by 14 percent over the past year and, as such, keeping a tight rein on costs is now increasingly important: Regular maintenance – ideally supported by telemetry data – reduces the risk of unexpected faults and expensive downtime periods for operators.

ZF Aftermarket offers its customers not just suitable telematics applications, which provide remote diagnoses on an ad-hoc basis, but is also present locally with diagnosis systems. Our global Service Network also helps us to ensure a high degree of service readiness. Our global Service Network also helps us to ensure a high degree of service readiness. This is particularly compelling for intercity buses because those vehicles usually clock up more than 300,000 kilometers annually and operate also internationally. That´s why we offer tailor-made maintenance contracts with terms of up to 15 years that allow bus companies to manage their costs reliably.

Question: Dr. Störk, the market for intercity buses is currently growing fast not just in Europe. In many newly industrialized countries, buses constitute the most important mode of transport. What does that mean for ZF Aftermarket and its partners?

Dr. Michael Störk: In Europe the intercity bus market is actually on the upswing. As a result, the number of intercity bus journeys in Germany, for instance, grew by 36 percent over the past year. Even large operators tend not to run their routes with their own buses, but outsource to small and mid-sized subcontractors. Ticket prices have fallen by 14 percent over the past year and, as such, keeping a tight rein on costs is now increasingly important: Regular maintenance – ideally supported by telemetry data – reduces the risk of unexpected faults and expensive downtime periods for operators.

ZF Aftermarket offers its customers not just suitable telematics applications, which provide remote diagnoses on an ad-hoc basis, but is also present locally with diagnosis systems. Our global Service Network also helps us to ensure a high degree of service readiness. Our global Service Network also helps us to ensure a high degree of service readiness. This is particularly compelling for intercity buses because those vehicles usually clock up more than 300,000 kilometers annually and operate also internationally. That´s why we offer tailor-made maintenance contracts with terms of up to 15 years that allow bus companies to manage their costs reliably.

Question: Does that also apply to operators of municipal bus fleets?

Dr. Michael Störk: Municipal bus fleets have a different usage profile than intercity buses. They are operated locally and run within fixed schedules. However, private operators are increasingly taking part in invitations to tender for municipal fleets, and so cost pressure is fierce here too. For meeting the expectations of the highest availability, the municipal fleets need an operating efficiency of over 95 percent in the near future. Preventive maintenance and diagnosis systems from ZF Aftermarket and rapid spare parts availability through our wholesale and service partners can help here as well. In the case of a repair we provide support with our technical know-how wherever municipal workshops do not have the resources to come up with a solution. Our ‘flying doctors’ get buses in need of repair back on the road as quickly as possible.

Question: Does that also apply to operators of municipal bus fleets?

Dr. Michael Störk: Municipal bus fleets have a different usage profile than intercity buses. They are operated locally and run within fixed schedules. However, private operators are increasingly taking part in invitations to tender for municipal fleets, and so cost pressure is fierce here too. For meeting the expectations of the highest availability, the municipal fleets need an operating efficiency of over 95 percent in the near future. Preventive maintenance and diagnosis systems from ZF Aftermarket and rapid spare parts availability through our wholesale and service partners can help here as well. In the case of a repair we provide support with our technical know-how wherever municipal workshops do not have the resources to come up with a solution. Our ‘flying doctors’ get buses in need of repair back on the road as quickly as possible.

Question: What future potential do you see for servicing in the bus market?

Dr. Michael Störk: On the one hand, the focus areas in the newly industrialized countries are shifting as a result of the high growth rates. The service offering in Africa needs to be different than in Hong Kong because the technological level of the vehicles is very different.

From a technical perspective, fleet management systems are also becoming increasingly important for bus fleets. Our telematics system OPENMATICS can be used across the entire range of buses thanks to its open interfaces – even a fleet of different vehicles can therefore use OPENMATICS without any limitations. Bus fleets with more than 4,000 vehicles are already using OPENMATICS: for utilization scheduling, reducing fuel consumption as well as increasing safety.

‘Preventive maintenance’ is becoming an even more important issue which we are also working on with redoubled efforts. In future, data on the condition of the engine and transmission oil could be networked with schedules and perfectly coordinated with the date for the respective oil change based on driving times and rest periods – regardless of where the bus is at any given moment. To offer these kinds of solutions, you need the technology platform along with a closely meshed network of competent service workshops that customers can easily reach. ZF Aftermarket can offer all this to its partners from a single source.

Question: What future potential do you see for servicing in the bus market?

Dr. Michael Störk: On the one hand, the focus areas in the newly industrialized countries are shifting as a result of the high growth rates. The service offering in Africa needs to be different than in Hong Kong because the technological level of the vehicles is very different.

From a technical perspective, fleet management systems are also becoming increasingly important for bus fleets. Our telematics system OPENMATICS can be used across the entire range of buses thanks to its open interfaces – even a fleet of different vehicles can therefore use OPENMATICS without any limitations. Bus fleets with more than 4,000 vehicles are already using OPENMATICS: for utilization scheduling, reducing fuel consumption as well as increasing safety.

‘Preventive maintenance’ is becoming an even more important issue which we are also working on with redoubled efforts. In future, data on the condition of the engine and transmission oil could be networked with schedules and perfectly coordinated with the date for the respective oil change based on driving times and rest periods – regardless of where the bus is at any given moment. To offer these kinds of solutions, you need the technology platform along with a closely meshed network of competent service workshops that customers can easily reach. ZF Aftermarket can offer all this to its partners from a single source.

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