|Quoting Viscount724 (Thread starter):|
Seatbelts don't seem to be an exceptionally hgh-tech product, with only a few parts. What is it that seems to give Amsafe a virtual monopoly?
|Quoting EMBQA (Reply 2):|
Nitch market.. and I'm sure very high liability insuranc
Viscount724's question has to my mind not been satisfactorily answered. How many seatbelt-related court cases are there out there? How many have ever made the news? IMO, I doubt that product liability is a significant obstacle to manufacturers seeking to enter the market for such a very low-tech product.
But then we don't have market share info at hand: what brand of seatbelt do LCC's other than WN
install, and what about charter and third-world carriers? I would not be surprised if it were another make than Amsafe. Perhaps Amsafe hold critical safety patents, perhaps like Microsoft in the early days they employ aggressive 'market rentention' tactics. It would also be interesting to know since when Amsafe has been dominating the seatbelt market and who were the main manufacturers before then.
Perhaps it's a question of airlines practicing an extreme example of if-it-ain't-broke-don't-fix-it policy. Seatbelts are not only very low-tech but also low-price and very low-maintenance items (how many times are they replaced over the life of an airliner?). Maybe the fact that maintenance cost is not an issue makes it easier for airlines to stick to one brand since the investment decision is simplified.
I for one would not be surprised if some Asian firm one day decided to make the necessary capital investment to enter the seatbelt market big time. We would then have a new Airbus to Amsafe's entrenched Boeing...
[Edited 2011-01-14 04:10:28]