New complexity is being added to automotive world virtually on a daily basis. New challenges are posed by digitization, globalization, intensifying competition and the accelerating pace of R&D. All of these factors are also impacting the spare parts market.
Automotive Industries (AI) asked Peter Wagner, Vice President Independent Aftermarket Segment of Continental’s Interior Division, how the theme and thinking behind the company’s stand at Automechanika 2016 in Frankfurt Germany reflects Continental’s response to the challenges.
Wagner: We will be showcasing a wide range of service solutions and products for the aftermarket on more than 600 square meters of exhibition space with the motto “Different Ways. One Future.” Visitors will get to see products that are tailored to the special needs of workshops. Our portfolio of OEM-quality products is huge and includes everything from tires and brakes across diagnostics and testing applications and devices to belt drive components and air suspensions.
AI: What specifically will you be presenting for diagnostics and testing?
Wagner: There will be a special show called “Tomorrow’s Service & Mobility” focusing on digital applications for the connected garage of the future. We will demonstrate how our innovative remote data platform and augmented reality can simplify all aspects of customer service, including troubleshooting, reservations, and repairs. Visitors to the show will be able to see through means of simulation how a sensor defects can be quickly detected through remote data access and then rectified using innovative features such as augmented reality. Remote diagnostics applications for fleets will also be exhibited. In Addition we will present a new multibrand service test device.
AI: Will there be any other premiers from Continental besides your new service test device?
Wagner: There will be several premieres, including aftermarket brake discs for a number of mid-size and premium car models. Furthermore, our water pump is now also available as a single part, letting vehicles without a toothed belt drive be upgraded with them. In addition, a new compact frequency gage called the Mini Belt Tension Tester (or BTT Mini for short) permits reliable, user-friendly setting of the correct tension in today’s complex belt drives, which are confined inside very tight spaces and fairly difficult to access.
AI: Are you offering anything new for the commercial vehicle aftermarket?
Wagner: Yes, certainly. We have expanded our line of air suspensions so garages can get the right replacements more easily. We will also be presenting a demo version of a garage portal for online marketing of VDO products and services. The portal will let garages increase their visibility and win new customers. Show visitors can see a new, improved version of the VDO WorkshopTab that is able to check many different makes of both analog and digital tachographs and also offers new national certifications
AI: What new tire developments will you be exhibiting?
Wagner: Continental is continually developing new technologies. Two recent examples are ContiSeal and ContiSilent. ContiSeal mitigates the consequences of damage to the tire tread by instantly sealing punctures up to 5mm in diameter, letting the driver continue on without having to stop and change the wheel. ContiSilent is a layer of foam covering the entire inside of the tire under the tread. It reduces cabin noise when driving on all types of surfaces. At Automechanika, we are going to demonstrate both of these solutions in the ContiSportContact 5 P together with a tire pressure monitoring system. We will also unveil the WinterContact TS 850 P, a tire featuring a tread made of pure dandelion rubber, which we have dubbed Taraxagum™. The natural rubber contained in dandelion roots is comparable in quality with that from rubber trees and performs just as well. The main advantage is that dandelions grow in temperate climates, which makes this product much easier and less expensive to transport to tire factories in Europe.