Tenneco grows direct-fit converter line as shops return to emissions segment

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Tenneco Inc. says a growing number of automotive service providers that have historically outsourced catalytic converter replacement and other emissions control services are returning to the category due in part to its Walker Emissions Control brand’s expanding range of direct-fit converters and exhaust assemblies.

“For many years we saw a decline in the number of shops that had the equipment and trained personnel to handle the cutting and welding necessary to install universal converters and mufflers,” says Joseph Robinson, emissions control product manager, North America Aftermarket, Tenneco.

“The increased availability of precision-fit, bolt-in assemblies has made this an appealing category again for many of these shops, and a growing number are jumping at the opportunity.”

Unit sales of aftermarket direct-fit converters grew 47% between 2010 and 2013, according to the Manufacturers of Emissions Controls Association (MECA). Over the same period, Tenneco introduced more than 450 premium direct-fit units to its Walker Ultra and CalCat converter lines.

The company says Walker Ultra converters comply with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards, while CalCat converters are engineered for regions that follow California Air Resources Board (CARB) standards.

“Walker direct-fit converters and exhaust assemblies have helped change a lot of shop owners’ minds about the profit potential in the emissions category,” Robinson says. “Many have recognized that diagnosing an emissions complaint and then subbing out the work to another provider can severely limit their profitability and add unnecessary time and potential quality issues to the job, which doesn’t make sense when a direct-fit unit can often be bolted into place very quickly.”

The growth of the direct-fit market is also being driven by vehicle manufacturers’ increased use of manifold converters, which are bolted directly to the engine and involve highly complex pipe routing and fitment requirements.

Tenneco says Walker Ultra OBDII and CalCat direct-fit catalytic converters feature OE-style design and fit, including hangers, flanges and brackets, and are equipped with the right loading of precious metals, the proper catalyst material and design, and high-technology washcoats, providing enhanced oxygen storage capacity.

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