Advances Mean Change, Not Extinction
Studies have pegged the global automotive brake aftermarket at just shy of $80 billion in 2022. These same studies indicate this market will achieve a compound annual growth rate of 3.2 percent, adding $14.07 billion by 2027.
This growth will come while the automotive industry undergoes a major evolutionary change in vehicle design as well as the design/engineering of their subsystems including braking. The vehicle changes are being energized by government mandates – including those for environmental impact and energy efficiency – as well as to meet market demands and technological advances (many to reduce vehicle weight, simplify manufacturing and reduce maintenance issues while increasing life-cycle of components.
A combination of vehicular electrification with regenerative braking reducing the amount of friction braking necessary along with improved design of brake components to — amongst other characteristics — lengthen their positive-performance life, will mean longer periods between brake-component replacements.
These market forces, driven by and driving the original-equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to designing/engineering/specifying specific changes to braking systems, have led some industry experts to predict a steady decline in the need for an aftermarket-brake segment, especially when it comes to the replacement arena. And much of this is being fueled by the ever-increasing impact of electrified vehicles – full battery electrics (BEVs) as well as mild, traditional (HEVs) and plug-in hybrid (PHEVs) ones.
“Well, it is a difficult situation as a maintenance component that no longer needs the type of maintenance that was necessary,” opined Richard Saxton, Department Head, Transportation Technologies, Community College of Philadelphia. “Yes, the EV/hybrid market will have a huge impact on that industry.
“I heard some (EV/hybrid OEMs) are considering thinner pad material to shorten their life, so replacement happens more regularly. But this isn’t just brakes, the entire aftermarket maintenance industry is going to be hammered, oil filters, air filters anything engine related.”
He summarized the situation in a single sentence: “Required maintenance is going to be a rough industry to survive.”
Changes in the maintenance segment of the brake aftermarket industry may be somewhat inevitable, as has been the case in areas like tune ups and oil changes where extended-life products have infiltrated the market, but to paraphrase Mark Twain, the reports of its impending death are greatly exaggerated.
BrakeLine went to several of the leading brake component manufacturers to find out what they believe the future of the brake aftermarket might look like. Specifically, we asked them to respond to a single question:
What do you think is the future of the aftermarket brake industry as the OEMs move towards more integrated vehicle systems like brake-by-wire and EVs lead to much longer brake life for OEM components?
This article appeared in the January issue of BrakeLine magazine. To read the full story, subscribe to our mailing list HERE to get your free copy.