PMF pays a visit to KPS Automotive to find out more about the business and its plans for the future from one of the company’s Directors, Steve Blake.
Q. It’s perhaps fair to say that KPS is a new name for readers. Can you tell us a bit about the company?
Steve Blake (SB): KPS Automotive Parts was formed in 2004. My fellow director and I are former employees of TRW, with extensive knowledge of power steering products, from passenger cars to HCVs.
KPS has a primary focus on electric power steering and braking, CV parts, electric parking brakes (EPB) and Valeo braking/lighting, but we are always expanding our product range. We offer a full range of remanufactured electric power steering columns and racks to complement our original equipment power steering products from JTEKT HPI and ZF TRW.
Products available from KPS, and supplied by the OEMs, include our EHPS pumps. The pumps come fully programmed with OE software and are a ‘plug-and-play’ solution for the vehicle. Our steering products include a full range of hydraulic power steering racks and pumps.
KPS also supplies the full range of TRW steering and suspension parts (stabiliser links, track rod ends, track control arms, etc.). Some of our new product lines for 2018 include:
- Air Suspension Technology (AST), including air compressors, air springs and struts, which fit applications such as – Audi, BMW, Land Rover, Mercedes, Porsche, Toyota and VW
- Sachs clutches and shock absorbers
- Lemförder (ZF) steering linkage and suspension parts to complement the former TRW range of parts
Q. What is it about the remanufacturing market that made you see an opportunity?
SB: KPS offers a mix of new and remanufactured products. This meets the needs of our customers by ensuring good availability. Our industry is all about having the part in stock and ready to go out on delivery. We also support our customers with a constant supply of new to range steering racks, columns and pumps – electric, hydraulic and manual. We want to be first to market with those new products to ensure we give our customers the best possible service. We often find steering products to be unavailable in the aftermarket for younger vehicles, so KPS works hard to ensure that there is always a remanufactured product around to fill the gap.
Q. Why do a factor’s customers turn to remanufactured products?
SB: Perhaps there is a perception that for electric steering the quality is not what it should be, or maybe a technician has had a bad experience previously. This shouldn’t happen with our products, as they are fully remanufactured and finished to a very high standard. We apply zinc plating to all exposed metal surfaces rather than the traditional black paint. Each unit is tested in a state of the art test facility which replicates the road conditions on the car.
All of the units must pass a rigorous set of tests before leaving the factory and each unit is supplied with a test certificate.
Q. How do you ensure availability of stock?
SB: KPS carries a large stock of power steering products. From our sales history, we have generated a pareto for each product group, which ensures we have all of the fast moving parts ready to be delivered upon receipt of the order. We do, however, carry the vast majority of our product range in stock at all times. As you might expect, there are always one or two slow moving products, but these are also available on short lead times.
To support the remanufactured products, we can offer a full range of ‘new’ (OE) EPS and hydraulic steering racks from JTEKT for Mercedes A & B, CLA, GLA, Smart, BMW Mini, Peugeot, Citroën, Renault, Toyota and VW.
Q. What is KPS’s fastest selling product and why?
SB: We do sell large quantities of EHPS pumps manufactured by the OE manufacturer, JTEKT HPI. These are for Peugeot makes 3008, 5008, 508, 307, 407, Partner, and Citroën makes C4/DS4 II, C4 Picasso/DS5, Berlingo, Jumpy, C4 I, C5, 607. We also sell Dacia Logan, Lodgy, Duster and Renault products among others. These parts sell very well because they are simple to fit, do not require a diagnostic tool, they clear any fault codes when fitted and are fully programmed with the OE software.
For steering racks, our biggest selling electric rack is the Peugeot 207. This is because there is an OE problem with the motor control unit (MCU). KPS can supply the complete rack or the MCU direct from JTEKT HPI. Of course, we can also offer a remanufactured version of the rack with a new MCU fitted.