Autolite Team Sees Spark Plug Market Move to Finewire and 12mm with Focus on Coil-On-Plug Ignition Systems – UnderhoodService

Autolite Team Sees Spark Plug Market Move to Finewire and 12mm with Focus on Coil-On-Plug Ignition Systems

The premium plug has sparked a revolution in the combustion chamber of the North American new car market. As engine designs evolve, the original equipment spark plug market is experiencing a fundamental shift away from basic spark plugs.

The premium plug has sparked a revolution in the combustion chamber of the North American new car market.

As engine designs evolve, the original equipment spark plug market is experiencing a fundamental shift away from basic spark plugs, says Duane Pekar, director of marketing, ignition at Honeywell Consumer Products Group.

Pekar notes that premium spark plug products – either platinum, double platinum or finewire plugs – now account for more than 60 percent of the new car fleet, according to data from POLK. And in the aftermarket, sales of premium plugs are at about 70 million units (2007 NPD Data ) – almost equal to that of conventional plugs.

“Right now, about 90 percent of all OE platforms use some sort of premium plug technology with double platinum and finewire comprising the majority of plugs now being installed at the factory. From 1990 to 2007, the engine’s ignition system changed dramatically – and that affected the type of spark plug technology that can be used. We’ve literally gone through copper plugs being dominant, to platinum, double platinum and now finewire becoming extremely popular,” said Pekar. “We need to help our channel partners recognize this trend so that they are stocking and offering the right plugs for the vehicles on the road today and tomorrow.”

In addition to premium plugs, there is a growing opportunity in the aftermarket for sales of coil-on-plug (COP) boots. By next year, almost 80 percent of all new vehicles entering the car parc will feature COP.

COP ignition systems and finewire plugs are a popular combination, and this shift has led to very application-specific requirements. The correct plug to use in a DIS system is double platinum; in a COP system, it is a finewire plug. However, it is important to note that a finewire plug can be used as a replacement on any engine.  

The Autolite brand recently expanded its line of COP boots to include coverage for 70 percent of the vehicles on the road that have COP technology.

Additional trends at the OE level that will trickle down to the aftermarket include the use of smaller plugs – like 12mm designs with smaller electrodes and 100,000-mile durability.

“In fact, there will be more than 29 million 12mm spark plug holes on vehicles on the road this year. Companies like Ford, Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Honda, BMW and Toyota are using 12mm plugs on at least one engine platform and Nissan and Daimler are standardizing it on all their engine platforms,” said Pekar. “To address this new trend, the Autolite brand will be launching three 12mm spark plug applications later this year.”

Since its inception, the Autolite brand has provided the automotive aftermarket and Original Equipment manufacturers with high quality ignition products.  As a leading supplier of spark plugs, ignition wire sets and coil-on-plug boots, the Autolite brand has the right ignition products for virtually every vehicle make and model on the road. More product information can be found online at www.autolite.com.

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