Nowadays, car bumpers market is considered to be quite perspective since the production of bumpers is directly linked to the car manufacturing which is steadily progressing. At the same time, it should be pointed out that the development of the modern bumper industry is accompanied by some difficulties, among which may be named the problems concerning safety of bumpers and the existing standard. Nevertheless, the car industry in the UK is still quite important and many manufacturers from different parts of the world have already launched manufacturing of their cars in the UK. Consequently, this means that the demand on bumpers will remain stable or it will even increase.
On analyzing the current situation in the UK market of car bumpers, it should be pointed out that basically, this market may be characterized as stable and it does not undergo radical changes. Basically, this leads to the situation when the major ‘players’ in the market remain unchangeable, among which may be singled out Beevers Auto Panels as one of the main car bumpers producer. It should be said that car manufacturing was historically one of the main and traditional industries of the UK, which constantly progressed and developed. In the result of the development of the car manufacturing, the rates of car ownership in the UK are very high and, consequently, potentially, the need in car bumpers is also high.
In this respect, it is possible to refer to the Table 1, which demonstrates the recent trends in car production in the UK. Even though the recent trends in the home market may be quite disturbing, since the production of cars for the home market tend to decline, but the general level of production of cars in the UK remains quite high and tends to grow. In such a situation, it should be said that the producers of car bumpers benefit from such a growth regardless certain decline in the home market, because car manufacturers working in the UK are oriented on the local suppliers of car bumpers. Consequently, the demand on car bumpers will remain high or grow as long as the car manufacturing keeps progressing and growing. Actually, this situation is similar to the situation in the American market, though, it is worthy of mention that overseas, the car manufacturing as well as car bumper industry is more focused on the home market and do not demonstrate such a positive trend of exporting its products abroad. In such a way, the UK producers seem to be in an advantageous position not only because of their export abilities but also due to the fact that the UK is situated in Europe and is integrated in the local market. Consequently, the opportunities of car manufacturers and car bumper producers are higher than in the US, for instance.
However, it is worthy of mention that the demand on car bumpers may be and actually is high due to the fact that bumpers are traditionally used as elements targeting at the protection of car accidents. To put it more precisely, initially, car bumpers were developed in order to increase safety of cars and minimize negative consequences of possible damages resulting from car accidents. Practically, this means that car bumpers are supposed to be used as a protection of car from larger damages that implies that car bumpers are actually the first part of a car that is supposed to be exposed to damages. Consequently, in such a situation, car bumpers producers may take into account not only the supply of its production to car manufacturers but it is also necessary to take into consideration the necessity to produce more car bumpers to repair and restore vehicles after accidents.
In fact, this is quite a perspective direction of work of car bumpers producers since even minor accidents can lead to serious damages of car bumpers. This is why, in the vast majority of cases, when a car gets into an accident even insignificant one, it is necessary to repair or even replace the car bumper that means that the demand on car bumpers inevitably overcomes the demand on new cars. In other words, car bumper producer should produce more bumpers than the cars that the UK automotive companies manufacture.
Also, it is worthy of mention that the recent researches concerning the effectiveness of car bumpers (Bumpers don’t Bump) revealed the fact that they are extremely susceptible to damages and, in actuality, the modern construction of car bumpers cost car drivers 250 million pounds a year in the UK. It should be said that, according to Thatcham researches (Bumpers don’t Bump), even a 10 m/h shunt could lead to a 4,000 pounds bill because of different bumpers height and weight. This trend is grow particularly dangerous for drivers and car owners in the current situation when SUV are extremely popular but, which, may be viewed as potentially the most dangerous to other vehicles and the rate of bumper damages in cases of car accidents with involvement of SUVs is extremely high.
At the same time, specialists underline that, to a significant extent, such a susceptibility of car bumpers to damages and trend to cause larger damages to cars is the result of the design failures of car bumpers (Bumpers don’t Bump).
In fact, the major conclusion the specialists of Thatcham arrive to is the fact that the modern bumps do not actually bump. In other words, the modern car bumpers manufacturers do not produce car bumpers that could really fulfil their main function that cause strong opposition from the part of consumers who should pay for the design failures of bumper producers.
Potentially, such a situation may threaten to the reputation and brand image of car bumpers producers but it is necessary to underline that it is not only car bumpers producers who are responsible for the lack of effectiveness of bumpers. In this respect, it is necessary to underline that many car manufacturers attempt to save costs and increase the qualitative and dynamic characteristics of vehicles by decreasing their weight, for instance. In such a situation, car bumpers simply become ‘victims’ of such attempts from the part of car manufacturers.
It is worthy of mention that this problem is typical not only for the UK car bumpers producers but also for their American colleagues as well. In this respect, it is necessary to refer to the fact that many American companies have long maintained that the impact-resistance bumpers are not only costly to make, but are so heavy that the extra weight takes miles off a car’s fuel economy. Nowadays, General Motors contends that cutting the current standard in half, to 2.5 m/h for both front and rear bumpers, would reduce the sticker price by $40 as well as save $50 to $50 in fuel bills over the life of the car (Battle of the Bumpers). Naturally, these findings are also true to the British car bumpers manufacturers. However, it should be said that the consequences of such savings of costs of both car manufacturers and drivers cannot outweigh the costs of accidents when bumpers do not effectively bump, i.e. do not fulfil their main function. It is obvious that, in such a situation it is not a bumper producer or car manufacturer who suffers the most but the customer.
Furthermore, taking into consideration the amount and variety of cars that are sold regularly in the UK (Table 2), car bumpers manufacturers should be ready to produce car bumpers of different types that fit different models of cars.
This means that car bumpers producers should develop a large variety of types of bumpers they could produce that implies a high flexibility of the production process. In fact, in such a situation, the flexibility of car bumpers production is of a paramount importance. At the same time, it is worthy of mention that many companies manufacturing cars tend to unification of their vehicles. This is why it is possible to presuppose that in the future such a trend to diversification could gradually decline. Nevertheless, it does not mean the decline of the car bumpers production. In fact, car bumpers production depend not only on the level of car manufacturing but, paradoxically enough, they can also benefit from the high rate of car accidents, especially in the current situation when the design of modern car bumpers is not very reliable and solid.
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that the modern car bumpers market in the UK is still progressing that is predetermined by several factors, among which may be named the stable development of car manufacturing industry which sustains the high level of production regardless the decrease of the home market sales but it benefits from export. Also, it should be said that, paradoxically, the modern car bumpers producers benefit from design failures of modern bumpers because of their inability to resist to serious and even minor damages. However, it is worthy of noting that it is not the fault of car bumper producers solely but rather the modern trend in the car manufacturing industry when car manufacturers tend to save costs by means of decreasing car bumpers effectiveness. Anyway, at the present moment the development of the car bumpers market in the UK makes it possible to forecast the positive trends in its further development.