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Lighting – an overlooked opportunity?

When the temperature drops, bulbs are more prone to failure. Ring Automotive considers missed opportunities and offers suggestions on how to get the most profit with bulb sales.

Replacement car bulbs are one of the fastest moving and profitable product lines in the aftermarket but it is up to staff in workshops to find the best opportunities to upsell to their customers.

Firstly, there are increased sales opportunities for the forward lighting on modern vehicles – easily demonstrated by comparing the value of replacing halogens bulbs with an upgrade halogen.

Whether it be a H4 or H7 (the common references for halogen headlamps), workshops can earn extra profit through selling upgrades. To replace a dipped beam H7 can typically cost anywhere between £5 and £10. Therefore, for a pair, motorists will be looking at a cost of between £10 and £20. Yet, if they bought an upgrade bulb, like the Xenon200, that puts 200% more light on the road, it will cost motorists £39.99.

By offering premium bulb upgrades that improve visibility, workshops could increase their sales by 50% and once customers see the improvement for themselves, they rarely go back to standard bulbs. Simply ask the customer if they want brighter or whiter lights. Most motorists don’t know such bulbs exist but do want better lighting for their vehicle.

On top of selling performance bulbs, garages should be replacing bulbs in pairs when replacing a blown bulb in a paired lighting system. If one headlamp or brake light goes, replacing the bulb in the other at the same time produces an even light output to aid driver vision. Plus, it provides a higher level of customer service. It is logical to presume that if one headlamp bulb goes, the other bulb in the other unit will also fail shortly. A motorist would be frustrated to have to replace another bulb soon after having a car in the workshop, so it is always worth replacing bulbs in pairs for these reasons.

Performance upgrades are not exclusive to the forward lighting on vehicles. Rear performance lighting upgrades are available too, such as the Ring Rapid Response Range. These are high intensity bulbs designed to offer up to 20% more luminous power and faster illumination. Drivers following vehicles using these upgrade bulbs will see them earlier and have more time to react.

With retail values of £3.99 per pair for some of the most common replacement bulbs, such as R382, R380, R207 and R245, workshops should see profits increasing with the sale of these bulbs.

Pre-empt failure and improve sales

In winter, drivers will easily notice bulbs that are performing poorly but lighting specialist Osram urges workshops to actively encourage drivers to consider their bulbs before they fail. One of the main reasons for failure during the winter months is down to the tungsten filament, a part of every halogen bulb, which generates light when a current passes through it. Cold weather can cause it to contract, which can lead to it breaking.

Drivers can also benefit from better and whiter bulbs, to maximise visibility in the darker months. NIGHT BREAKER 200 is Osram’s brightest halogen bulb, with up to 200% more light on the road and up to 150-metre-long beam and recently recognised in Auto Express’s 2023 Product Awards.

The supplier has introduced a new counter display for its NIGHT BREAKER 200 range, to encourage impulse purchases. It is designed to be quick and easy to set up and comes with ten duo packs of its upgrade bulbs (seven H7s and three H4s).

LED bulbs and classic cars…

For most road users, it is illegal to retrofit their vehicles with LED bulbs, but Osram points out that the story is different for classic car owners.

The MOT inspection manual states: “Existing halogen headlamp units on vehicles first used on or after 1 April 1986 must not be converted to be used with high intensity discharge (HID) or LED bulbs. If such a conversion has been done, you must fail the headlamp for light source and lamp not compatible.” Therefore, pre-April 1986 vehicles are not subject to these restrictions, and subsequently, drivers can fit LEDs to their classic cars if they so wish.

Not every classic car driver will agree with fitting their car with LED lights, as it is not in keeping with the time period, but fitting a classic car with LEDs allows drivers to see much farther.

Osram’s LEDriving retrofit offering includes LED bulbs for high and low beam, fog, signalling and interior lighting applications. The product ranges include the newly launched LEDriving HL EASY, BRIGHT and INTENSE for 12V headlight applications, LEDriving FL for fog light applications, LEDriving HLT for trucks and 24V vehicles, LEDriving HLM for motorcycles and LEDriving SL for auxiliary lighting applications. While all the bulbs in the LED portfolio are marked for ‘Off-Road’ use only, due to UK legislation, as mentioned, this does not apply to pre-April 1986 vehicles.

Osram has manufactured the LEDriving HL EASY bulbs as socket based, meaning it has no external driver and does not need additional caps or adapters. Drivers can simply take their old halogen bulbs out and replace it with these LED versions. These bulbs provide an ultra-compact LED replacement for conventional high and low beam lamps with cool white LED light – with an optimised high-speed fan that ensures active cooling and maximised heat dissipation.

Lighting of the future…

Valeo manufacturers lighting systems for numerous car manufacturers, including Volkswagen AG, Stellantis, Renault- Nissan and Ford, with more than 95% of its products manufactured in Europe.

It states that the latest technologies, such as Pixel Light and the monolithic adaptive headlights, are set to revolutionise safety standards for drivers and pedestrians. The introduction of Valeo’s Pixel Light enables innovative lighting functions such as road markings, driver assistance and improved interaction with pedestrians.

Its glare-free high beam with three lines of LEDs and a pixel count of 22 to 102, provides the ability to deactivate one or more pixels to prevent glare for other road users while ensuring maximum illumination. The first references will be available in 2024.

About Autotechnician
Autotechnician is a magazine published nine times a year, delivering essential information to independent garage owners and technicians in the UK. Delivered both digitally and in print, autotechnician provides readers with technical, training, business advice, product and news, allowing our readers to keep up to date with information they need to run and work within a modern workshop.
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