“On the one hand, we see an increasing consolidation within the wholesale business in Europe, which has given rise to increasingly bigger market players,” group spokesman Markus Richter told Automotive Logistics. “On the other, the continuing advance of digitalisation is opening up completely new business models and competitive environments.”
The company aims to develop both its original equipment and aftermarket business, with a greater focus in the aftermarket on product groups in which it can benefit from its original equipment know-how in lighting and electronics.
Within the workshop equipment segment, Hella is going to expand its diagnosis and calibration portfolio by working on calibration methods for radar, lidar, ultrasonic sensors and 360° surround-view cameras.
Richter said the trend towards automated driving meant the radar technologies and front camera software Hella offered would become increasingly important, giving it a much larger market share within a very short period of time. That, he added, corresponded with an increasing demand for new calibration methods designed for those sensor technologies. Consequently, Hella expects to gain twice over from the trend – in its original equipment business and its workshop equipment operation.
The Lippstadt-based company is also adding electric vehicles to its diagnostic portfolio and will further develop its expertise in the area of emissions testing, said Richter. It will create a new mobility solutions business unit from August 1 to provide detailed digital diagnostic services.
“This includes, for example, business models for remote diagnosis and predictive maintenance, which could be designed for workshops, fleet operators or intermediates such as insurance companies,” he said.
The restructuring means some activities will be cut, however, including Hella’s business with Mahle, which will be acquiring 100% ownership of their 50:50 Behr Hella Service joint venture. Hella will distribute its cooling and air conditioning products via Mahle’s own aftermarket organisation, subject to anti-trust approval.
Explaining the attraction of the acquisition from its perspective, Olaf Henning, head of Mahle’s aftermarket business unit, said: “Efficient thermal management will play an increasingly important role in future for all powertrain technologies. This move will allow us to give the best possible support in this very promising area and to ensure the successful operation of workshops.”
As previously reported, Hella is also selling its wholesale companies in Denmark (FTZ Autodele & Verktoj) and Poland (Inter-Team) to Swedish aftermarket company Mekonomen as part of the realignment.