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WPRT: Its Independent Aftermarket Business and Delayed OEM Solutions

IN FOCUS: WESTPORT FUEL SYSTEMS AND ITS INDEPENDENT AFTERMARKET BUSINESS AND DELAYED OEM SOLUTIONS.

The alphaDIRECT Insight

Westport Fuel Systems IAM business has a global market share of approximately 25% and the company has comprehensive industry experience with a large network of independent distributors located all over the world. The company targets the development of new technologies for direct injection engines and improved selfcalibration tools to further reduce installation time and further improve performance. Its core IAM business focuses on the supply of systems and components to retrofit cars to be able to fuel with LPG or CNG. Westport Fuel Systems business model covers commercial relationships with car makers and local importers. Together with current market trends for alternative fuels and the reduction of diesel engines for light-duty vehicles, we believe that the company is well positioned to target larger quantities of petrol cars to be retrofitted and continue to expand into the approximately 1 million units per year world market of LPG/CNG conversion kits.

Shawn Severson: First, I would like to thank you Massimiliano for taking the time to speak with us today. This is our fourth alphaDIRECT Management Series with Westport Fuel Systems and today’s focus will be on Westport Fuel Systems Transportation segment, specifically your Independent Aftermarket business (IAM) and your delayed OEM (DOEM) solutions. However, before we get started could you give us a brief introduction of yourself and what brought you to Westport Fuel Systems?

Massimiliano Fissore: Thank you Shawn. While I have a law degree from the University of Torino in Italy, I have worked in the alternative fuel sector since 1997 when I joined BRC Gas Equipment and have spent my entire professional career developing liquid petroleum gas (LPG) and compressed natural gas (CNG) products, technologies and markets. I joined Westport Fuel Systems when Westport and Fuel Systems Solutions merged back in 2016 and I am now Westport Fuel Systems’ Senior Vice President, IAM & DOEM. I am proud to be part of Westport Fuel Systems, an industry leading company with alternative fuel systems and solutions as a core business and a clear strategy in terms of growth for future technologies and new applications.

Shawn Severson: Let’s begin with helping us understand how Westport Fuel Systems is positioned within the global IAM business?

Massimiliano Fissore: Within the global IAM business, a number of active players offer solutions to retrofit cars from a pure gasoline fueled to a bi-fuel car (gasoline with LPG or with CNG). Driving on these fuels means driving more economically and more environmentally friendly. Westport Fuel Systems is really the global leader in the IAM business. We have a long history, with over 40 years’ experience in developing, manufacturing, selling and servicing LPG and CNG systems and components for the automotive market. We currently have a global market share of approximately 25% (CNG/LPG) and a consolidated network of approximately 100 independent distributors located in over 70 different countries around the world. With each distributor having a solid network of local dealers, where end customers can have their cars retrofitted and serviced. We have five manufacturing locations: two in Italy; one in the Netherlands; one in India; and one in Argentina. The involved number of employees is about 850.

Shawn Severson: Great, thank you. What are the core businesses and brands that make up Westport Fuel Systems IAM business? Can you tell us more about it in terms of focus, customers, products and technologies and strengths? 

Massimiliano Fissore: Westport Fuel Systems core IAM business is focused on engineering, manufacturing and suppling technologically advanced and cost-effective products to retrofit cars to be able to fuel with LPG or CNG. This is a relatively fast and easy solution that offers significant savings for individual end customers along with important emissions benefits. The Westport Fuel Systems family of brands covers all segments in the IAM for LPG and CNG fueled cars. BRC Gas Equipment’s and Prins’ key focus is developing systems for the latest car models. Innovations and high-quality standards come with a top-mid price range. While Zavoli, OMVL and TA Gas Technology have a strong local presence and are positioned in the low-mid price range and well known for their high product quality and reliability. Valtek is a supplier of CNG and LPG components to kit integrators.

In terms of product portfolio, the IAM business demands competitive products to reduce the conversion cost in order to shorten the end user’s payback. However, at the same time, it demands investment in research and development to follow the automotive industry’s evolution in terms of engine technologies, electronics innovation and increasingly stringent emission levels. Our targets include the development of new technologies for direct injection engines and improved self-calibration tools to further reduce installation time and further improve performance. A key strength of Westport Fuel Systems’ IAM business is a complete portfolio product range with the ability to attend to any market request and retrofit any model of car from low tech to modern cars.

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