Metalcaucho has been creating spare parts and rubber and metal accessories for the automotive industry for more than 35 years, working with virtually all the international brands. The company controls all the production processes exhaustively, from initial part design through to mass production, which enables us to guarantee constant quality, equivalent to OEM but at a more competitive price. They manufacture according to lean methodology and ISO 9001: 2015, which along with our investment in innovation and development, has made us an industry first-in-class. Metalcaucho’s extensive facilities located in Barcelona store more than 28,000 part numbers, covering a high percentage of the international car fleet. Metalcaucho is part of BBB Europe, subsidiary of BBB Industries, LLC, founded in 1987, is a private company based in Alabama, is an industry leader in the sustainable manufacturing of starters, alternators, hydraulic and air disc brake calipers, hydraulic and electronic power steering products, and turbochargers for the OEM, passenger, industrial, and commercial vehicle aftermarket industries. In Europe they have several brands, including Industrial Metalcaucho, STC (Servicio y Tecnología del Caucho), Cautex and FARE, leading companies in Europe in the supply of after-sales rubber and metal spare parts for the automotive sector; Italy’s Red Line, Germany’s Mapco and Denmark’s Budweg are also part of the group. Interview with Samuel Carrasco, Marketing and Communication Manager at Metalcaucho. Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company? Samuel Carrasco: Metalcaucho: We are committed to constant innovation, supplying high quality products with equivalent reliability to OEM parts at a competitive price. Important investment in the Quality department, with more than 3% of our annual turnover for a constant improvement of quality control systems. We constantly reduce time-to-market. 95% service level with quick order preparation. 15% annual increase of our part numbers. E.E: What’s the news about new products? S.C: Thanks to a tireless product development department, Metalcaucho never stops launching novelties. In fact, in 2021 was a very productive year, reaching, through 9 launches, 5,215 references to add to its portfolio, the most extensive in the market in its category. We currently have more than 28,000 part numbers, a spectacular figure considering that in 2015, when the current directive came in, they only had about 12,000 items in stock. E.E: What are the ranges of products? S.C: Launching a wide range of new part numbers, Metalcaucho has increased a large part of its most outstanding families, as well as the number of car applications. Here is a list of the main product families that Metalcaucho works with: Engine and gearbox mounts, Hoses, Thermostats and caps, Silentblocks, Boots, Shock absorber mounts, Crankshaft pulleys, Expansion tanks, Link bars, Alternator tensioners, Heat exchangers, Suspension bearings, Wheel hubs, Exhaust mounts, Stabilizer bar bushings, Oil sumps, Timing kits, Fuel filters, Fuel pipes, EGR valves, ABS sensors, Turbo hoses, Air admission, Oil turbo tubes, Oil separators, Control arms, Tie rod and ball joints, PU bump stop, Rear windshield wipers, Control cables, Brake hoses… E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active? S.C: On the one hand, the global scenario that surrounds us: the geopolitical tension that has a direct impact on our business through the global economy. On the other, the problems of supply and shortage of raw materials: many manufacturers are suffering, and we, as aftermarket suppliers, are witnessing the alarming drop in the construction business. While, instead, the aftermarket business is increasing unexpectedly. We have never had such a brutal growth in aftermarket indices as we are currently experiencing, as a result of the fall of the first team. And it is that the brands buy and produce less because they do not have products to produce their vehicles, and the aftermarket is benefiting from it, it is a direct consequence. E.E: What can you tell us about market trends? S.C: Now we are living in a kind of fantastic bubble, we have recovered from covid quickly, we have spent a year and a half worrying and now we are experiencing a growth spiral. But the current situation, as good as it may be, should not isolate us from the consequences that it may have in the medium term, since it could become a problem, because our vehicle fleet is aging, already being one of the oldest in Europe, old cars are not they leave money in the aftermarket and the drop in vehicle sales today, we will suffer it in ten years, and it does not seem that this trend is going to change. On the other hand, we are witnessing a change in the model of society, accustomed to immediacy and which has come up against problems of supply and scarcity of raw materials, something that was unimaginable years ago, which also coexists with the increase in generalized prices, lead to an impoverishment of society, because salaries do not grow at the level that the costs of products increase, and consequently the use of the private car can decrease as there is no money in the families to support that cost. E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed? S.C: In the first quarter of 2021, two new product families were presented, air suspension and CV joints. And in the year 2022 we are presenting steering racks and intake manifolds. A declaration of intent, since the Spanish company continues to bet on incorporating products with high technical demands into its catalogue. Without forgetting its strong market niche and which in fact gives its name to its brand, rubber and metal, and what has made it one of the leading companies in the market, we are expanding our commitment to more complex product families and with a higher technological value. We currently have 74 part numbers of steering racks. In the first release in January, this new family was inaugurated with 47 steering racks, 28 of the mechanical type and 19 of the hydraulic type. The following month they launched 27 more references, 18 mechanical and 9 hydraulic. It is a new family that will undoubtedly continue to grow in subsequent releases. E.E: What estimations do you have for 2022? S.C: The consolidation trend is going to continue, although I do not expect major changes in terms of market structure: our market is very traditional and has perfectly absorbed phenomena or threats such as the new distribution or the e-commerce channel: many of our clients already work the B2C and the B2B. This sector is very robust and can perfectly assume these channels as its own. The increase in used car sales is, a priori, good for the aftermarket. Of course, part of those buyers of second-hand vehicles are those of necessity products, very cheap cars, with many kilometers. These drivers, therefore, want to invest very little in the maintenance of their vehicle, which becomes a double-edged sword for the sector: more operations, but less expensive. Thus, it becomes especially important to bet on the white label to cover this type of client. Today, 40% of stores say they intend to work with cheap brands, compared to only 27% a year ago. The same happens with the white label: 33% of businesses are interested in working with it, when before the pandemic it was only an interesting option for 20%.