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The new Aktaş “spring collection” offers color customization

Automechanika Frankfurt 2012 saw the launch of a new “customizable” air suspension system by Turkish company, AktaÅŸ Newtone. They are the first systems available in any color that the customer chooses. “These products open up new possibilities for the automotive supply industry,” says Åžahap AktaÅŸ, Chairman of the Board of AktaÅŸ Holding

Companies will be able to feature their corporate branding colors, and individuals will be able to display the colors of their favorite sports teams or national flags. “Our colored air suspension systems are a further step towards developing our product range, and supporting our aim to become the largest air spring producer worldwide,” explains Kurt Burhan, CEO of AktaÅŸ Holding.

The company says that the system is sturdier and lighter than all other suspension systems as well as having a 60% longer lifespan.

AktaÅŸ Newtone incorporates TwicePower technology which ensures a longer lifespan for the entire system. The new product boasts a duration of 5,769,000 cycles compared to 2,000,000 cycles in a standard AktaÅŸ product. This is almost three times longer than any of the current systems on the market.

TwicePower technology also makes the new suspension system more eco-friendly through lower waste and energy consumption. “At the launch of the product, our aim was to reach 10% of the total Turkish market share through the sale of 45,000 units. We have surpassed this goal with 70,000 units sold, reaching our goal in half the predicted time,” says AktaÅŸ. Founded in 1938 by Sait AktaÅŸ, AktaÅŸ Holding is the leading manufacturer of air suspension systems in Turkey, and the third largest air spring producer in the world with a market share of 17% in 2011. The company offers one of the world’s broadest product ranges in the independent spare parts category.

It operates production facilities in Turkey, Bulgaria, China and subsidiary companies in 13 countries for assembly, logistics and marketing. Among these are Brazil, Germany and North America. AktaÅŸ’ commitment to R&D has paid off as the company cur- rently holds 11 registered patents (as of 2011) and has another 25 patents pending. AktaÅŸ Holding Transportation Group comprises of 13 companies which have a total of 43 000 square meters of factory space with a total capacity of 2.5 million units of suspension springs and a 2011 turnover of 116 million Euros (US$151 million).

Automotive Industries (AI) spoke to Åžahap AktaÅŸ Chairman of the Board, AktaÅŸ Holding.

AI: Tell us about your strategy to grow AktaÅŸ’ revenues in 2012 – how successful were you in achieving this goal?

AktaÅŸ: Despite the economic recession, Aktas achieved its objectives fully in 2012. By contributing to alternative markets and increasing our marketing efforts in developing markets we captured our sales target.

AI: What makes the AktaÅŸ Newtone air suspension systems superior to other products?

AktaÅŸ: AktaÅŸ Newtone is more durable and lighter than all other existing air springs in the world, and it is 60% more durable. Due to optimum material usage, the product is more environmentally friendly. It is also light and flexible, easy to transport and to install. AktaÅŸ Newtone incorporates TwicePower technology, which is a technological revolution in the industry. It is the world’s first colored air spring. Due to all these features, Aktas Newtone is in the premium segment, and is in demand in all markets.

AI: Tell us about the investment your company makes in R&D, and describe some examples of product innovations that have been driven by this.

AktaÅŸ: Aktas chose R&D as a point of differentiation in the market. We focus on R&D to increase our competitiveness with high value-added products on an international scale. We will apply for 19 patents this year and our aim is to increase this 200% next year. We will also expand our product range in 2013, and we are investing 3% of our turnover into R&D. According to TAYSAD data, AktaÅŸ is was ranked 3rd with its 15 national patent applications in 2011. Previous product innovations include the development of air suspension systems for light commercial vehicles, where we have done our best to improve comfort. We have also developed the secondary suspension system on trains which is between bogie and railway wagons. With this product, train passengers are now able to travel more comfortably.

AI: Where do you see AktaÅŸ Holding Transportation Group’s growth coming from over the next few years?

AktaÅŸ: AktaÅŸ is spread across six continents, and sells products in more than 80 countries. The company is the epitome of reliability and quality brands. People from many nationalities and cultures around the world work in AktaÅŸ facilities. In 2023, AktaÅŸ aims to become the world leader in the industry. For this reason, we have set our goals until 2023. We will reach our goal by increasing our market share every year.

AI: What are some of the new technologies we can expect from your company in the near future?

AktaÅŸ: In the future, our company is planning significant investments in the field of green energy. In addition, new solutions for the rail systems will come. We are also aiming at using our expertise in rubber-based products in new areas. Automotive Industries also spoke to Burhan Kurt, CEO, AktaÅŸ Holding.

AI: What gives AktaÅŸ Holding an edge over other manufacturers of vehicle parts? Would you say it is your R&D or your geographical reach?

Kurt: In fact, both of the issues are important. Our high quality products developed through R&D sell successfully because we have world-wide distribution.

AI: Give us an idea of how your production facilities in 13 locations coordinate changing technologies and products – do they operate as separate companies?

Kurt: AktaÅŸ does not manufacture in all locations. At present, it has manufacturing plants in Turkey, Bulgaria and China. Other locations are distribution centres. We have made a significant technological investment in order to access all of these locations easily. We are able to track all the flows easily from our headquarters. In addition, there are well equipped managers in all the countries who report directly to the CEO.

AI: Tell us about how AktaÅŸ Newtone suspension systems have been received by the market.

Kurt: Aktas Newtone sold seven times more than predicted, in a very short space of time. This shows that we put the right product on the market.

AI: Tell us about the different brands in your portfolio and what role each plays in different segments of the market.

Kurt: The company manufactures three major brands of suspension springs including AktaÅŸ, Airtech and Aircomfort. AktaÅŸ is the premium brand providing high quality through innovative technology and a three year warranty. Airtech is the quality brand for air suspension systems. These systems operate on any road surface, in varied climate conditions (from -40°C up to +70°C degrees). The Aircomfort brand is competitively priced and was developed to meet more general air spring needs in a price-sensitive segment.   

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