Sector: LPG

Westport Fuel Systems - division of roles

Westport Innovations and Fuel Systems Solutions have recently merged to form Westport Fuel Systems – an alternative fuels sector giant encompassing brands such as Prins and BRC in its portfolio. What changes in strategy does this bring?
ADVERT Will Prins' Direct LiquiMax and BRC's LDI systems now use the same technology?
Andrea Alghisi, Chief Operating Officer, Automotive & Industrial Group, Westport Fuel Systems: As a combined company, Westport Fuel Systems will continually evaluate and ensure that the most innovative products and technologies are available through our different brands in a variety of leading markets. Today, there are differences between the two Liquid Direct Injection systems and we will continue to respect brand identities which are a valuable asset to our combined Group and to our customers; increasing their value and preserving their identity is a common interest.

Dr Andrea Alghisi© Westport Fuel SystemsDr Andrea Alghisi is COO Automotive & Industrial Group at Westport Fuel Systems

How will Prins and BRC evolve in terms of product line-up to avoid internal competition?
Avoiding internal competition is a priority and we have outlined specific strategies looking at markets, pricing and brand positioning, all factors that will be carefully considered.

Will one of the brands move towards supporting the OEM market, while the other will supply the aftermarket conversion sector?
Generally speaking, given their rich history and brand recognition, Westport, EMER, BRC and Prins will be brands more frequently used in relations with OEMs. Of course there could be important exceptions to this which will depend on the needs and preferences of our customers.

How will the two brands be represented outside Europe?
There will not be significant changes – we intend to protect our current distribution networks and work to improve the strong relationships we have with our dealers. Both BRC and Prins have long histories in the alternative fuel market: current distribution networks are the result of years of cooperation and mutual trust and will be a key element of the success of our group going forward.

In particular, what about the US market? Will the individual conversions sector develop there?
Westport Fuel Systems is well represented with several leading brands in the North American market. Currently challenged by macroeconomic conditions including sustained low oil prices and weakened volumes, the market differs from Europe.

Despite the decline in oil price; Westport’s DOEM [delayed original equipment manufacturer] business is still one of the three players in North America with a strong dealership base and fleet management. Other Westport Fuel Systems brands like IMPCO Automotive and Prins offer innovative turnkey concepts to the customers.

Our Cummins Westport Inc. joint venture (CWI) is the leading supplier of natural gas engines to the North American medium- and heavy-duty truck and transit bus industries. While CWI has also been affected by external macroeconomic factors, we have seen continued growth in the transit market year over year.

Recently the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) jointly released the Phase 2 GHG emissions and fuel efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. These new rules will create a new competitive dynamic in the trucking industry and Westport Fuel Systems is well-positioned to deliver best-in-class engines and vehicles that meet increasingly stringent regulatory frameworks.

Will the merger make liquid LPG injection systems more affordable?
As a combined company, the economies of scale and synergies will provide opportunities for product cost reductions, including for the liquid Direct Injection systems.

Will there be more OEM applications of autogas systems?
This question should be asked to OEMs directly, but we know that OEMs are looking for alternative fuel solutions to meet the challenge of the 2020 emission regulations. Diesel emissions reporting and EU regulations will further define the direction of this market and as a combined company, we are ready to provide advanced alternative fuel systems and components solutions. Furthermore, we believe that as soon as the current low oil price trend changes, there will be increasing attention to our technologies.

Are there any more mergers or acquisitions planned?
The Westport Fuel Systems merger created a leading and competitively positioned global company in the alternative fuels space. Work is well underway to integrate the organization, capture synergies, and drive efficiencies. Our focus is now transforming the company into a profitable and sustainable organization. We continually assess market conditions, our strengths and capabilities, and a range of alternatives that will drive long-term profitability. We cannot disclose any other information beyond this point.

Thank you for your time.
The pleasure is mine!


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