21 Jun 2024
The voice of the independent garage sector

Q&A: PHINIA

In July, PHINIA spun off from BorgWarner to focus on the transition to carbon-neutral and carbon-free fuels for internal combustion engine vehicles. The new entity, which includes theDelphi, Delco Remy and Hartridge brands, will be centered on fuel systems, and components for OE and aftermarket customers.
    
Aftermarket spoke to Neil Fryer, Vice President and General Manager Global Aftermarket at PHINIA about the new company.
    
Tell us about the thinking behind the creation of PHINIA
We were originally Delphi Technologies, which was acquired by BorgWarner in 2020. We have continued during the period of ownership to develop the aftermarket segment, really focusing on our own technologies, which would include diesel fuel injection, gasoline fuel injection and vehicle electronics, and adding to that other items like chassis products, steering, suspension and brakes, where we bring those to market. We have a broader portfolio than just our OE offer.
    
That offer is really built around being a combination of a Tier One aftermarket business, plus an aftermarket specialist in the products which we bring to market, although they’re not OE products.
    
BorgWarner is going in a direction increasingly focusing on electrification. We decided in the end, to spin off as PHINIA because we have a different strategy. That strategy is very much to focus on combustion, but we believe that there is a pathway to carbon-free combustion using synthetic fuels, hydrogen and other alternatives such as ethanol and methanol. We also believe that in certain sectors, like commercial vehicle and industrial, combustion is going to be around for a long time, so we see an opportunity to offer an alternative pathway for sustainability in these sectors.
    
As the strategies of the two companies were diverging, we wanted to create a situation where we could really invest in our business.

What will this look like for garage customers who look towards Delphi for parts and training?
PHINIA is the company name, but we have a number of brands that we use to sell in the aftermarket. One is Delphi, another is Delco Remy, because we also have the commercial vehicle starters and alternators business, and then we have the Hartridge brand for our test equipment as well.  Nothing’s going to change for our customers on a day-to-day basis. We will continue to use those brands. They are strong and recognised within the market, but our corporate name is PHINIA rather than BorgWarner.
    
There has been a degree of pushback on the idea that the car parc will ever be all EVs, so is this a sort of a recognition of the fact that it’s going to be a more mixed picture?
Yes, I think that is exactly the point. We see that there are things that we need to do to become carbon neutral in the world as a society, and there are a number of paths to get there. Our view is electrification will be one path, but there will be a role for combustion to play. Our technology is helping to drive along the way to carbon neutrality, as I say, with alternative fuels, and also developing technology to make combustion engines which use carbon-based fuels as efficient as they can be to reduce pollution.
    
Many garages over recent years have been looking to specialise to focus investment.
    
Delphi has been providing training in a number of areas. Is there going to be an expansion of the training offering?
We see training as an essential part of what we are doing for our customer base in the independent aftermarket. We’ve been offering training for a long time. We’ve recently launched Masters of Motion, which is really based on supporting technicians. It’s our intention to continue with that. The programme covers more than just the products in our portfolio. There is EV training in that offer, there is hybrid training in that offer. One of the things that we’ve seen is very much technicians coming to us and saying, we would like to work on electric vehicles, but we don’t know how to, and we want to be trained and we will continue to offer that training. We are IMI approved in the UK for giving certified training to technicians so they can work on EVs. We see that as a key part of our offer going forward.

Across OEM manufacturers, there’s sort of a pull back from production of combustion engine parts. Following the launch of PHINIA, I assume that’s not something Delphi is going to be doing?

There are probably 1.5 billion vehicles on the road today, and by 2030 there’ll be 1.7 billion, or maybe 1.8 billion if you take passenger cars and commercial vehicles into consideration. By 2030, more than 90% will still be combustion engine vehicles. My feeling is our customers have a long runway in front of them where they will need to be able to offer maintenance and repair for combustion engine vehicles. They need suppliers that they can rely on to provide them with the parts that will allow them to do that.
    
At the same time, they need to get ready for the change in the aftermarket and we will help them, particularly through our training programme, to prepare for that.

Any final thoughts?
The message I want to get across to our customers is that it’s very much business as usual.
    
Nothing is changing. The team remains the same, so there shouldn’t be any concern from that point of view. We look forward to collaborating with our customers to be even more successful in the future.