An introduction to Grau18 May 2022
The second brand from European brake and suspension manufacturer Haldex is Grau. That German brand of ABS valves, which was originally acquired in the 1990s from Echlin’s Midland-Grau Heavy Duty Systems, now stands for a good-quality range of all-makes parts for not only trailers but trucks too.
The ambitious current nature of Haldex’s expansion plans means that if customers aren’t yet familiar with Grau, they will be soon. Today, key Grau parts include brake pads, brake actuators and, coming to the market at the end of the year, disc brake rotors.
This new range has been some time coming, for all the right reasons, explains Alessio Paiusco, Haldex European sales manager for other brands. “For all Grau products that we launch, we want to be sure about the quality,” Alessio explains. “We are not rushing but we are following the standard quality procedure, tests and processes that we do for our Haldex products.”
This is a key difference from other suppliers on the market, he adds. “There are lots of brands in the market, but probably 65% of the other brands in the market are just trading companies. They buy from China or somewhere else. They don’t control [assess] their products, because they don’t have the tools to do so. They rebrand the units and make sales; that’s all. Our difference is that we spend the right time to be sure 100% that the quality is okay.” Even though in a like-for-like comparison, a Grau part will be less expensive than Haldex, that does not mean it is low-quality. So equivalent are the brands that a customer could install a Haldex brake actuator on one end of an axle and a Grau one on the other, Alessio contends.
To achieve that requires an investment in supply chain verification. He continues: “The quality tests that we usually do are not about the first batch, nor [just] at the beginning when we have samples and when we launch new products. Our tests are also carried out during subsequent deliveries that we get from suppliers. We do it all the time.”
Historically, Haldex supplied mostly trailer parts. That began to change in 2018 when the brand began to also offer spare parts for the truck market based on products already in the marketplace. Now, Grau pads and discs will not only fit other brands of axle and other brands of disc brake caliper, but also all of the main OEM brands of trucks (including IVECO, MAN, Mercedes-Benz, Renault, Scania and Volvo).
“Grau is the brand where you can find the units for any kind of vehicles that you have in your workshops,” Alessio adds. Although he was reluctant to specify what other Grau products were planned to be launched, he did say that he sees almost no limits to the type of commercial vehicle parts that could be supplied by the brand. “Our strategic plan is quite huge,” he allowed.
Another example is its rapid growth: having launched with 11 brake pad references in 2018, in the following three years it added another 29 references.
The Grau brand offers several advantages to distributors. First is the scope: Grau brands cover 99.9% of the range. “They don’t need 3-4 different suppliers to work with. If they focus on everything with Haldex, they can find for sure the right unit they are looking for, for the product lines that we have,” stated the sales manager. That means, for example, a supply of parts for both disc and drum brakes, the latter remaining popular in particularly dusty applications, and also in the UK.
Second, Grau customers can draw on the entire Haldex service structure for product warranty and support. Before a purchase, users can find Grau parts by OE reference, or search out repair guides with photographs on www.haldex.com, 24/7. Distributors can use the same site for e-commerce purposes, including ordering, pricing and availability information. Haldex service also means express delivery in 24 or 48 hours in Europe or the provision of regular weekly shipments. That also means technical advice from Haldex’s European Technical Service Unit. Grau products come with the same warranty as any Haldex product.
“Also it’s fun to work with Grau products because there are often promotions and campaigns. And we are open. Grau is flexible. We are following our customers’ needs,” concludes Alessio.