The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Standards Critical for Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems Market

May 17, 2007

PALO ALTO, Calif. --- The original equipment (OE) sector has been flooded with various types of tire pressure monitoring systems in the wake of new legislation requiring such systems in all new vehicles in the U.S. According to new analysis from Frost & Sullivan, the research and development of advanced indirect systems is in the final stage and may threaten the direct TPMS industry in the OE sector because of the price advantage. On the one hand, many suppliers are developing increasingly advanced systems. On the other, several vehicle manufacturers are considering TPMS a commodity and are in constant search for more cost-effective systems. The market supports those participants who offer inexpensive products without comprising on quality and who have a strong brand image, according to Frost & Sullivan. Many end users are expected to abandon direct systems in favor of the considerably lower-priced indirect ones, once the systems meet new legislative requirements. Currently, indirect systems are not fit to be implemented as OE, but ongoing developments in advanced indirect systems may change this and help this technology wean customers away from direct systems, analysts concluded. Meanwhile, the rushed implementation of TPMS in the OE sector, technological advancements and product proliferation have created parts standardization issues within the market. These factors have especially affected the aftermarket, the research firm said. "Almost each vehicle model had a distinct TPMS type and some are not compatible with certain diagnostic tools," said Frost & Sullivan analyst Kyu-min Oh. "Standardization of direct TPMS technologies by OEMs and production of diagnostic equipment that is compatible with the variety of systems by aftermarket tools manufacturers is expected to go a long way in aiding the overall market." Aftermarket maintenance participants and tire retail channels have emphasized technician training and consumer education. Since approximately 19 million TPMS-fitted vehicles expect to be sold annually, technicians need to have in-depth knowledge and training about the system. "It is critical for aftermarket maintenance and tire industry participants, such as tire retailers, to educate technicians on the wide variety of TPMS products and the repair/diagnosis process for different applications," noted Oh. "This will help eliminate unnecessary costs such as compensations for damages." The adoption of TPMS has not only posed the need for special technician training, it's also only discouraged the offer of complimentary services such as tire rotations to preferred customers since TPMS servicing is labor- and time-intensive, analysts said. Maintenance participants also have to invest in TPMS diagnostic equipment to carry out repairs, replacements and re-calibration. Because of the volume of TPMS in use, it's crucial for workshops to have the appropriate equipment to work on TPMS-equipped cars, Frost & Sullivan said.
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