PALO ALTO, CA — Revenues in the North American fuel filter market were down last year with the market posting negative growth of $129 million in 2003. And, according to the latest research from international consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, those numbers may continue to drop by $115.6 million in 2010.
Longer replacement cycles and failure to replace filters regularly have resulted in lower unit shipment demand in the aftermarket. According to Frost & Sullivan Industry Manager Jasmine Sachdeva, there are two factors contributing to this problem — larger fuel filter trap capacities and cleaner fuel, she said. Another factor that contributes to depressed demand is the improved quality of gasoline, which causes fewer contaminants to clog up filters and hence lowers replacement rates.
With fuel injected vehicles almost phasing out carbureted engines, fuel filters have become more complicated as these new vehicle models call for sturdier filters that survive greater pressures, according to Frost & Sullivan. As a result OE fuel filter manufacturers are developing products with increased capacities to allow for less frequent aftermarket replacement.
According to Frost & Sullivan, technicians can play an important role in driving this segment of the industry, by encouraging proper filter replacement in accordance with manufacturer’s guidelines.
Due to increased consolidation and competitiveness within the distribution channel, many filter suppliers are now sourcing their products from overseas, Frost & Sullivan reported. Brand name vies with price when it comes to the crucial differentiator in purchase decisions. As imported filters, even lower quality filters, perform quite satisfactorily and their lower price makes them more appealing than the expensive North American fuel filters.
“To stem the commoditization of their products, manufacturers need to promote brand awareness among installers and end users so that they will be willing to pay a premium for some brands,” said Sachdeva.
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