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Alternative Powertrain Technologies: Opportunity For Workshops

MAHLE Aftermarket supports customers in tapping into future business segments.

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MAHLE says it sees enormous opportunities and new business segments for workshops in the mobility transformation and evolution of the automotive industry. In the opinion of Olaf Henning, general manager of MAHLE Aftermarket, thermal management in particular will grow in importance, in light of the increasing number of electric and hybrid vehicles. However, innovative filter systems and new developments for hygienic cleaning of vehicle cabins to protect against infections are also on the list of innovations being explored by the MAHLE Group’s business unit specializing in spare parts and workshop equipment. The company offers customized spare parts and tailor-made workshop solutions—for the entire range of conventional and alternative drive types. And it has been a success: despite an economically challenging market environment, MAHLE Aftermarket increased its sales by 2.4 percent to EUR 950 million in 2019 and further expanded its global presence.  

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“The work carried out in workshops will change dramatically in view of the increasing diversification of the vehicle fleet. However, we believe that the advent of alternative powertrain technologies in workshops should in no way be seen as a threat to their business. On the contrary, we see an array of new business areas and activities that present the company with new opportunities and possibilities,” said Henning. “If independent workshops decide to embrace this transformation, we’re the right partner to have by their side.”

The challenges are multifaceted: With an increasingly diverse selection of powertrain technologies on the market, the number of spare parts and service units required will increase dramatically. The proportion of modular components in the vehicle that combine a variety of functions is also continuously growing. This requires a broader range of tools and service units, as well as more training and further education for workshop technicians. 

MAHLE Aftermarket benefits from the group’s approach of being open to all technologies, developing products for both conventional and all alternative drive types as part of its dual strategy. This allows MAHLE Aftermarket to supply workshops and the wholesale trade with a comprehensive range of necessary spare parts, service solutions, and services that enable them to tap into the new areas of potential for the future.

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With the acquisition of the majority share in Behr Hella Services on January 1, 2020, MAHLE has reinforced its capabilities to provide more specific equipment and support to workshops in the area of thermal management. 

In the past few years, MAHLE Aftermarket has also positioned itself more broadly in the area of filtration, and is a leader in clean cabin technologies and air management of fuel cells. MAHLE has developed new high-performance filters specifically for vehicles with a fuel cell drive, which reliably separate harmful gases such as sulfur dioxide, ozone, nitrogen oxides, and ammonia, as well as particles, in order to prevent damage to the cell. MAHLE also anticipates significant service volumes for workshops in the medium term. 

Today, MAHLE already has a portfolio of over 300 filters specifically for vehicles with alternative drives, which will be further expanded in line with the development of markets and fleets. A challenge primarily facing the wholesale trade is the topic of fuel quality, as engines are becoming increasingly complex and also more sensitive. As a globally operating group, MAHLE is working systematically to offer its international customers the ideal filter solution for their region. MAHLE Aftermarket has developed the new CleanLine and CleanLine+ filters, available worldwide in two variants. The single-stage variant filters dirt particles and water in one step. The more effective, two-stage variant filters in two separate steps: first the dirt, and then the water through a synthetic fabric. In this way, the sensitive injection systems are protected from damage. This can be done economically and simply by selecting the most appropriate design for the regional fuel quality. 

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In addition, MAHLE Aftermarket is continuously expanding its Service Solutions business for workshop equipment to allow workshops to perform reliable and economic vehicle diagnostics and maintenance in close cooperation with the vehicle manufacturers. MAHLE’s innovations in the calibration of advanced driver assistance systems, the increasingly important air conditioning service, the transmission oil service, and the hygienic cleaning of vehicle cabins to protect against infections are therefore particularly relevant. With its new OzonePRO unit, MAHLE Aftermarket has added a product for the hygienic sanitization of passenger cars, buses, and commercial vehicles to its service unit range. Especially in the current situation, this device can be helpful for car rental companies and logistics service providers. They can use it to ensure that cabins are free of germs and odors when handing over the vehicle to customers. In addition to vehicles, the unit is suitable for use in hotel rooms and business premises.

MAHLE Aftermarket is constantly developing its further training program for workshops. This is centered on repair and maintenance information services provided directly via the service units, as well as training opportunities for employees via the Technical Messenger or the MAHLE Customer Care Portal.

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