DIVERSITY DRIVES GROWTH

EXEDY (Japan) was founded in 1923, and its clutch manufacturing business and prominent brand name formerly known as Daikin Clutch is known throughout the world for supplying quality powertrain products

Mark Davis, EXEDY Australia Product Manager

Globally, EXEDY is committed to designing and manufacturing quality products that set the benchmark for reliability.
“Our advanced engineering and patented innovations have made us the leading OEM manufacturer in the world for Clutches and other powertrain components,” EXEDY Australia Product Manager, Mark Davis, said.
“EXEDY is also the undisputed world leader of performance sports and racing clutches.”
Today, the global EXEDY Group has 44 operations worldwide and employs more than 18,000 people in 25 countries.
EXEDY’s extensive product line-up includes manual clutches, torque converters, automatic transmission frictions, and industrial transmissions.
EXEDY has a long and successful history in Australia that extends all the way back to 1986 when four knock-about blokes banded together to start Clutch Co Imports.
In the later years, a fifth founding member came on board in Sydney. For the next decade, they toiled, and in 1995 Daikin Clutch Japan came to Australia, looking for a local partner. They joined forces and Daikin Clutch Australia was born.
“Before joining forces with Daikin Clutch Japan, the guys were selling various brands of product,” Mark explained.
“But the founders knew they were onto a good thing, and EXEDY quickly became the primary focus.”
Today EXEDY Australia employs more than 50 people and has offices in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane. They stock more than 4,500 SKUs covering everything from passenger, commercial and agricultural vehicles as well as performance upgrades and heavy-duty kits for those 4WD enthusiasts who like to get off the beaten track.
But of course, shifts in consumer buying habits have thrown up challenges for clutch manufacturers in more recent times as more and more drivers choose automatic transmissions.
“Today, many new passenger vehicle models don’t even offer a manual option,” Mark said.
“And a lot of younger people don’t necessarily want to drive a manual car, so the biggest challenge we are facing today is that the clutch market is in decline.”

To combat the slowing shrinking size of the clutch market, Mark and his highly experienced team have looked further afield, adding new products that appeal to their customer base.
“We know our customer base intimately and this mutual trust and respect provided us with unique insights when we started to investigate potential opportunities to diversify our product offering,” Mark said.
In 2017 EXEDY acquired Driveline Auto Parts, a leading supplier of automatic transmission components, allowing EXEDY to expand its presence in the automatic transmission aftermarket.
When purchased, Driveline Auto Parts had operations in Perth, Adelaide, and Sydney, and under EXEDY’s ownership, its footprint has expanded to cover Melbourne and Brisbane.
“The acquisition of Driveline Auto Parts has provided us with the opportunity to distribute an impressive range of automatic transmission parts,” Mark said.
“While the clutch market is shrinking, the automatic transmission re-building industry is growing, so the integration of Driveline Auto Parts into the EXEDY business is a critical piece of the puzzle for us moving forward.”
The second big move EXEDY Australia made to tackle the shrinking clutch market has been the launch of the AISIN brand in Australia.
In parallel to growing its core clutch kit business, EXEDY recently expanded its product offering with the introduction of the AISIN brand. The AISIN range includes cooling, drivetrain, clutch kits, hydraulics, lubricants, and more.
“AISIN is a subsidiary of the Toyota Motor Company,” Mark said.
“They have a huge product range that is primarily suitable for Toyota applications, but with the popularity of the marque in Australia, there’s a nice synergy with the AISIN brand.”
AISIN is one of the world’s leading OE manufacturers for Japanese, European and American vehicles. The extensive range of quality AISIN products is now available in Australia through EXEDY’s vast network of dealers and distributors.

“The range of AISIN replacement products is expanding quickly,” Mark explained.
“Many of these are the same parts supplied as OE to major Japanese vehicles manufacturers such as Toyota, Daihatsu, Mitsubishi, Hino, Isuzu, Fuso, Suzuki and also to European and American brands.”
One of the biggest trends in new vehicle sales in Australia has been 4WD and SUV market growth.
“There is no doubt that Aussies are 4WD crazy at the moment,” Mark said.
“With the unfortunate demise of the Holden Commodore and the Ford Falcon, dual-cab utes are fast becoming Australia’s new family cars.”
The latest offerings from all the big players in the Dual Cab 4WD market are much more comfortable than their predecessors.
However, they still deliver serious off-road performance and a large towing capacity making them the right choice for families looking to explore more of Australia.
“There is no doubt that the global COVID-19 pandemic has also helped drive 4WD sales in Australia,” Mark explained.
“All forecasts show that when we come out of lockdown that more than ever, Australian’s will be holidaying locally, and Dual Cab 4WDs are just the ticket.”
To leverage this increase in new 4WD sales, EXEDY has launched a campaign specifically targeted towards promoting its four-wheel-drive performance clutch range.
“We’ve joined forces with the talented editorial team at 4×4 Australia Magazine as the official clutch partner in their highly coveted 4×4 of the Year program,” Mark said.
“Four-wheel drives are a huge part of our business. Whether it is Mitsubishi Triton, Nissan Navara, Ford Ranger, Toyota Hilux, and even some of the Chinese vehicles like Great Walls, they are just super popular right now.”

Mark also believes that, to some degree, the increased popularity of 4WDs has been driven by regulatory bodies.
“Authorities are coming down harder on modified vehicles,” Mark explained.
“I think a lot of those guys that would modify their Commodore or Falcon are now transitioning into the four-wheel-drive sphere, where they can still modify their vehicles while avoiding the headaches when it comes to dealing with the authorities.”
While the future looks bright for EXEDY, it’s certainly not without its challenges. EXEDY is investing heavily in research and development to overcome these challenges while also refining the distribution model.
“While I can’t reveal too much at the moment, globally, we’re investing heavily into the development of products for hybrid and electric vehicles,” Mark said.
“It’s a little early to say too much at the moment, but there is no doubt that’s where the future is headed.
“There’s been a lot of changes in the industry, and that directly impacts distribution.
“As a result, we have developed a multi-channel strategy to reach end-users.”
You can find EXEDY products at a wide variety of brake and clutch specialists, independent auto supply stores, and of course, large national chains like Burson Auto Parts, for example.
EXEDY says it proudly identifies quality and service as its number one priority. This, combined with an industry-leading range and an extensive distribution network, has ensured on-time delivery and has fortified the business for many decades.
“Our strength is our people. We have an amazing team, all of whom work hard to provide exceptional quality, service, promotion, and after-sale support. We pride ourselves on those elements within the business,” Mark said.
“Of course, the AAAA helps us deliver on these promises.
“It’s a terrific organisation. They support their members and our interests, advocating for the automotive aftermarket at federal, state, and local government levels.”

To find out more about EXEDY, visit exedy.com.au