VBG Truck Equipment offers products and services that contribute significant value for customers and users in the form of increased reliability, personal safety and efficiency.
Leading brands and customer value
The division’s two brands for drawbar couplings, VBG and Ringfeder, account for more than 50 per cent of the world market. VBG is the leader in Scandinavia and the UK, while Ringfeder is strong in the rest of Europe and other markets, such as Australia. VBG Truck Equipment also holds a world-leading position in automatic tyre chains through the Onspot brand, with a market share of approximately 65 per cent and well-established sales in North America.
VBG Truck Equipment has a diverse customer base. The largest customer group in drawbar couplings is body builders, who customise the truck body after it leaves the truck manufacturer’s assembly plant. Other important customer groups include large international truck manufacturers and players in the aftermarket. The main customer groups in automatic tyre chains are users of emergency and commercial vehicles in Europe and the USA. In the USA, the school bus segment is also important.
The market for automatic drawbar couplings has a turnover of approximately SEK 1,000 million per annum. It is impacted by the need for heavy transports in society. Europe’s truck fleet has never been as old as it is now, and there is a substantial need to replace the fleet in both Western and Eastern Europe in the years to come.
Interview with Anders Erkén
"Focus on traffic safety drives development"
Division Manager at VBG Truck Equipment
VBG Truck Equipment set sales and profitability records in 2017. Can you explain how you succeeded at that?
The fact that conditions in the truck industry are generally strong plays an important role, at the same time as we captured market shares in major markets such as Germany, Eastern Europe and Australia. Moreover, we see that sales of drawbar couplings accelerated in China at the end of the year, and that our automatic tyre chains are gaining ground globally.
In the autumn of 2017, you signed a distribution agreement with Hyva China Mechanics. What does the agreement mean for you?
Simply put, China has opened itself up, through new regulations, to the possibility of using drawbar couplings with combinations of heavy vehicles. Since the autumn of 2017, our entire product range in the Ringfeder brand has been available in the Chinese market, which was already noticeable in sales during the fourth quarter. The business in China is strategically important for enabling us to grow while maintaining profitability outside Europe as well, and for reaching our growth targets.
Traffic safety is a priority issue for you – but how important is it for the market?
Focus on traffic safety drives development in the market to a very great degree. In 2019, for example, new regulations concerning underrun protection for trucks will be introduced in Europe. With stricter requirements for design and durability, tests and certification will be in demand – and that means positive business opportunities for us.
How do you view the possibility of finding areas of application for your products outside traditional road transportation?
I see major opportunities here. Especially in logistics centres and industries with a great degree of internal transportation such as steel mills and paper and pulp mills. Our solutions could promote both increased productivity and increased safety there.
Could you speak briefly about your establishment in Brazil, which began in 2017?
We recruited one person with thorough knowledge of the industry and drew up a plan in which we initially concentrated on a few select segments with our product range of Ringfeder couplings. In 2018, I expect we will be able to establish ourselves in the forestry, agriculture, and utility segments.