Vendor Newsmaker Q&A: Mac McGovern

Jan. 1, 2020
Mac McGovern is the Director Of Marketing And Training with KYB.

Mac McGovern is the Director Of Marketing And Training with KYB.

Has the increase in parts quality and the purported decrease in deferred maintenance forced you to alter your business strategy? Why or why not?

To understand this issue better, I often check the service provider's reality by asking their technicians: "On today's newer vehicles; how long do shocks and struts last?" The most popular reply is: "They seem to last forever." The issue here is that most shops wait until a part has completely failed before they replace it. The evidence of this thinking is that more than 80 percent of vehicles in the scrap yard still have their original shocks and struts. However, when I ask: "How many miles do you think original shocks and struts can keep a vehicle operating within its original-design performance?" the response suddenly changes to 50,000 miles or less. Most technicians already understand why parts should be replaced long before a complete failure, but few understand how to justify and communicate that need to the motorist.

To help the service provider capture more sales, KYB created "Ride Control Solutions." It includes technician and service advisor training, along with effective customer communication worksheets. Our ride control specialists are highly trained to conduct this one-on-one training and offer it through our parts distribution partners.

What innovations have you seen in the shocks and struts category?

As vehicles become more fuel efficient, shocks and struts have kept pace by producing less friction and offering more stability. Some of the newest technology is in the variety of stability control systems. Higher priced vehicles often incorporate electronically controlled struts, but most will still have a gas/hydraulic unit. The stability control in these vehicles will instead incorporate a yaw sensor that tells a vehicle's computer system when there is excessive body roll. The computer, in turn, applies the brakes and/or reduces the vehicle speed via the throttle. As the shocks and struts wear, vehicle speeds could be reduced more to compensate.

How important is brand to your customers?

It depends on which customer we're talking about: The motorist, the person throwing the box away, the service provider or the parts distributor. Each has a stake in brand but for different reasons. KYB customers recognize our brand as an original equipment supplier and that our aftermarket shocks and struts include the same level of quality. Brand preference usually occurs at the service provider. Their customers typically rely on them to choose the right part so our focus is on them. Training and support are critical to brand; it's not just a matter of marketing.

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