DAYCO: FROM GARDEN HOSES TO GLOBAL LEADER
Dayco’s resounding strength can be traced all the way back through its 119-year history, with the company overcoming several major global economic situations to consistently emerge at the top of its industry sector
Dayco was founded in 1905 as the Dayton Rubber Manufacturing Company by Colonel JC Hooven in Ohio, USA, with the company initially designing and manufacturing products such as garden hoses out of natural rubber.
In 1908, John A MacMillan was hired and the organisation began creating his product, the Airless Tyre, before going on to also produce the first Whitewall Tyres in 1913.
From the early 1920s, the Dayco company entered a diversification period when it radically increased the variety of its products. This led to the introduction of many different rubber parts, along with some textile products.
Dayco also pioneered a synthetic rubber product range that included the first synthetic rubber tyre and was a valuable supplier of products to the United States military during World War II. The company officially changed its name to the Dayco Corporation in 1960.
Today, Dayco can be found across more than 40 global locations in 22 countries, boasting more than 119 years of experience and a global team surpassing 3,600 associates.
Dayco supplies a wide range of premium quality engine components to many of the world’s major vehicle manufacturers as an Original Equipment supplier of choice and partners with global automotive and industrial manufacturers to design, develop and produce high quality products for light duty, heavy duty, industrial, agricultural, off-highway and recreational vehicles.
These vehicle manufacturers include Alfa Romeo, Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Citroen, Ferrari, FIAT, Ford, Geely, GM, Isuzu, Jaguar, Jeep, Lamborghini, Land Rover, Lancia, Maserati, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Opel, Peugeot, Porsche, Renault, Stellantis Group, SAAB, SEAT, Skoda, Suzuki, Toyota, Volvo, Volkswagen, Vauxhall, Opel, and Isuzu. Dayco is also a long-term Heavy Duty Original Equipment supplier to Cummins, Caterpillar, and Paccar.
As a result of the company’s vast global Original Equipment design and manufacturing expertise, Dayco is also a global automotive aftermarket leader, providing a broad and constantly evolving engine component replacement product range to meet automotive repairer demand in every region that the company is operating in.
The Dayco aftermarket product range includes but is not limited to Drive Belts, Drive Tensioners, Timing Belts and Kits, Dampers, Harmonic Balancers, Decoupler Dampers, Engine Hoses, Coolant Tanks, Thermostats, Water Pumps and Water Pump Kits.
Dayco manufacturing plants are located all over the world, ensuring proximity to the company’s OE and aftermarket customers.
These state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities can be found in the USA, Mexico, Argentina, Italy, India, China, and Australia, supported by international sales offices to best service local customers.
This enables the huge company to maintain a global mindset, while offering an ever-expanding product range to meet local customer demand in every region.
A shining example of this aftermarket sector growth strategy turned a small regional Australian component manufacturer into a global automotive component supplier when Dayco acquired Precision Parts in 2013.
Headquartered in Wagga Wagga (NSW), Precision Parts was established in 1976 and became a dominant supplier of automotive harmonic balancers and engine pulleys to the Australian aftermarket.
This small, premium quality manufacturer also designs and produces high performance balancers using advanced bonded dampening technology.
Dayco supported regional Australian manufacturing by investing in growing the company’s workforce, then taking its quality products to the global automotive aftermarket.
This made the Dayco Powerbond harmonic balancer range the fastest growing balancer brand in the USA performance product market at the time, states Dayco.
Dayco now supplies all major global Aftermarket distributors including Advance in the USA, while in Australia and New Zealand, Dayco supplies products to BAPCOR, GPC Asia Pacific, Cooldrive Auto Parts, and Veale Auto Parts, among others.
Globally the company is now aligned to four business units being APAC, EMEA, NA and LATAM with the APAC region headed by Managing Director, Arnold Mouw, who is based at the company’s Australian head office and warehouse facility located in Melbourne.
Arnold is also a member of the Dayco Global Executive Leadership Team, focused on adding value to key customers, expanding the Dayco product portfolio and the company’s global footprint via strategic acquisitions.
The growth of Dayco over the last century has not come without its challenges, however the company has become stronger following each and every bump it has encountered on its journey.
“The resilience of our people has always shone through several tough times in our company’s history,” Arnold said.
“One of the most significant of these was during the Global Financial Crisis when Dayco was placed into Chapter 11 protection.
“To come out of that stronger than ever is testament to our commitment to total product quality along with the efforts of many highly talented and dedicated people that make up our global workforce.
“In Australia and New Zealand, it is our vast aftermarket product range and its constant expansion that makes Dayco a one stop shop.
“This allows our customers to easily access a wide range of products for engine drive and cooling / thermal management from the single supplier. We also listen and respond to our customers about adding new products to our range along with specific technical requirements.
“We thought that the COVID-19 pandemic would be our biggest challenge, but we endured it and once again emerged stronger than ever.
“As demand significantly increased and with the shipping issues that everyone was facing, we invested in resources and made the decision to airfreight stock for our Australian and New Zealand customers at no added expense, which was very well received.”
In Australia, Dayco did the opposite to what many companies elected to do during the pandemic period.
Instead of closing or slowing down, Dayco continued to communicate to its customers through strategic marketing that included trade media communications, advertising, direct customer communications and major visibility across several premier levels of motorsport.
There is no doubt that this level of customer communication kept Dayco at the front of mind of its distributors, but most importantly at the front of mind of the mechanics who were inundated with repair work throughout that period.
Clearly, opposed to the pandemic period hurting the company, Dayco had managed to significantly increase its customer base during that time.
Dayco has always believed in supporting the communities where it conducts business and in Australia the company has been a long-term room sponsor of Melbourne’s Ronald McDonald House, which enables families to remain close to their loved ones during major hospital treatments and surgeries.
Dayco celebrated a decade of involvement with this outstanding charity in 2020 and in 2023 announced the sponsorship of a second Dayco room at Ronald McDonald House for families to use.
In addition to the room sponsorships, Dayco also provides Medallion Club AFL match tickets to these families to enjoy as a temporary reprieve from the stress of the medical issues that their children are facing.
Like any automotive component manufacturer, Dayco faces current and future headwinds, such as the impact of electric mobility on the company’s global business.
“Dayco’s engineers are working on making the EV transition one of opportunities as opposed to challenges, developing new OE and aftermarket products to suit these vehicles as the technology continues to develop,” Arnold said.
“We still have decades of demand for internal combustion engine components, but we are also focused on how the global OE and aftermarket sectors are trending and the emerging EV or other power unit technologies that Dayco can be a part of.”
In September 2022 Dayco was acquired by Hidden Harbor Capital (HHC) and this has given the company a new enthusiasm for driving further global growth.
A new Chief Executive Officer was appointed, Craig Frohock, who recently visited the company’s facilities in China and Australia.
“We have a bright future ahead at Dayco with investment that is geared to ensure constant company growth of our key automotive business sectors,” Arnold said.
“Our manufacturing capabilities continue to grow across a number of strategically located manufacturing plants and sales offices to best service our customers.
“With new products joining the already unparalleled Dayco engine component range, our company is geared to continue its almost 120 year automotive aftermarket success story.”
Dayco is a proud member of the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA).
“The AAAA is an industry body unlike any other and I say this after having been involved with several throughout my international career across a number of different industries,” Arnold said.
“The AAAA provides great value through its business networking opportunities, but its real successes have been in leading the world to gain Right to Repair Legislation and the establishment of the Automotive Innovation Centre.
“The AAAA best represents our ever-growing industry, giving it a major voice to Government and the wider Australian industry group. Dayco is proud to be a part of this outstanding and highly effective industry body.”
To learn more about Dayco, visit www.dayco.com