OEM RE­VIEW

Motor Equipment News - - FRONT PAGE - READER RE­PLY 01506012 By John Ox­ley.

It’s a strange phe­nom­e­non of to­day’s world that mo­tor man­u­fac­tur­ers have to urge work­shops and tech­ni­cians to use gen­uine parts when they re­pair mo­tor ve­hi­cles, but there’s a good rea­son for it.

In the be­gin­ning of mo­tor­ing, the only parts avail­able were those made by the com­pany which built the car, and it wasn’t an is­sue.

OK, maybe the lo­cal black­smith would re­pair bro­ken bits where he could, but when it came to re­place­ment parts, well gen­uine was the only op­tion!

How­ever, as time went gone on, things changed.

It started when the mo­tor man­u­fac­tur­ers – the OEMs – had to start out­sourc­ing man­u­fac­ture of parts be­cause, first, they didn’t have enough ca­pac­ity to make all the bits them­selves, and sec­ond, ve­hi­cles were be­com­ing more and more com­plex, so they couldn’t af­ford, or chose not to, pro­duce cer­tain spe­cialised parts.

Things such as gen­er­a­tors (they came be­fore al­ter­na­tors), spark plugs, shock ab­sorbers, and so on.

So in­de­pen­dent parts mak­ers built their own fac­to­ries, and de­vel­oped a whole new sub-set of mo­tor man­u­fac­tur­ing.

How­ever, as th­ese com­pa­nies grew, so they looked for more and more busi­ness to make the economies of scale work, and so in ad­di­tion to sell­ing parts to the OEMs – parts sold in the OEM’s own pack­ag­ing, and through its own dealer net­work – they started to mar­ket the same parts un­der their own name, some­times un­der­cut­ting the OEM prices be­cause this was es­sen­tially in­cre­men­tal busi­ness to pro­vid­ing parts for the OEMs.

This worked pretty well for a time, and some­times the in­de­pen­dent parts mak­ers im­proved on the de­signs they were mak­ing for the OEMs, and started to pro­duce spe­cialised re­place­ment parts, of­ten of ex­tremely high qual­ity, de­signed to take the mo­tor ve­hi­cle to a dif­fer­ent level to that in­tended by the orig­i­nal de­sign. Such as mo­tor sport, or se­ri­ous off-road­ing.

All this is well-known, and well­doc­u­mented.

But then came the global ex­plo­sion in the mo­tor in­dus­try, and lots of new­com­ers wanted in.

Op­por­tunists re­alised that they could jump on the bandwagon by copy­ing the OEMs’ orig­i­nal de­signs, and even those of the in­de­pen­dent parts mak­ers, and by us­ing short­cuts in man­u­fac­ture, such as us­ing in­fe­rior ma­te­ri­als, or miss­ing out a cou­ple of man­u­fac­tur­ing stages – and by us­ing ex­tremely cheap labour in “sweat shop” fac­to­ries – could make their for­tunes.

Th­ese days it’s got so bad that they even copy the pack­ag­ing and writ­ten war­ranties!

The an­swer to th­ese in­fe­rior parts, say the OEMs, is to use only gen­uine parts from the OEMs them­selves.

To find out more about this, we asked Paul Bow­ness, Toy­ota’s manager, parts and ac­ces­sories, a few ques­tions about the di­rec­tion Toy­ota’s gen­uine parts pro­gramme was tak­ing.

First, and we asked him what the benefits are of buy­ing gen­uine parts, as well as war­ranties of­fered.

“It keeps your car gen­uine, will re­duce run­ning costs, and the part is de­signed and man­u­fac­tured for the ve­hi­cle, plus it will last longer than al­ter­na­tives,” he said. Paul added that Toy­ota of­fers a two-year un­lim­ited km war­ranty on all its parts.

As far as gen­uine parts pric­ing was con­cerned, we asked Paul to of­fer ex­am­ples of how this was im­prov­ing against a per­cep­tion that gen­uine parts were ex­pen­sive.

Quot­ing from a sur­vey con­ducted by “Trade Garage Owner”, he showed the fol­low­ing com­par­i­son:

We asked Paul if an OE part was to be re­designed, how long would it be be­fore a Gen­uine Part re­place­ment would be­come avail­able?

“Re­designed OE parts are avail­able to or­der from Ja­pan from the day the ve­hi­cle is re­leased on the mar­ket,” he said. “Parts stock is split be­tween new ve­hi­cle pro­duc­tion and ser­vice parts sup­ply as early as pos­si­ble.”

And how far do you think the af­ter­mar­ket would lag be­hind you on this? “Maybe 6-12 months.”

We asked Paul how Toy­ota ser­vices the mo­tor trade. “Our dealer net­work ser­vices the trade,” he said, “and we have prod­uct ranges with a trade dis­count, an ex­am­ple of this be­ing our Trade Grade range.” [as shown above – Ed.]

We asked him to com­ment on the ser­vice de­liv­ery of the parts pro­gramme. “We cur­rently of­fer a same-day de­liv­ery ser­vice for Auck­land and Lower North Is­land deal­ers,” he replied, “and coun­try­wide next-day de­liv­ery for all or­ders re­ceived be­fore 5pm.”

The NZ ve­hi­cle car parc is one of the most var­ied in the world, and we asked how Toy­ota caters its pro­vi­sion of parts to this.

“Toy­ota New Zealand is com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing all Toy­ota car own­ers, whether they drive NZ new or not. We cur­rently have 180,000 unique parts on file, and ac­cess to nearly 1.2-mil­lion more through Toy­ota Ja­pan,” he said.

“We let cus­tomer de­mand de­ter­mine our stock lev­els; typ­i­cally, if we sell a part three times in a year we will look to stock it in our ware­house.”

Our next ques­tion: do you think car own­ers should be made more aware of the long his­tory your com­pany has in pro­vid­ing gen­uine parts?

“Maybe, but I think own­ers know about this and this is the rea­son they buy a Toy­ota,” he replied.

“How­ever, I am not sure that they know gen­uine parts are not al­ways used when re­pair­ing their ve­hi­cle.”

We asked how long Toy­ota has had a “parts depart­ment” in New Zealand, and, at a guess, how many parts would you think have been sup­plied in that pe­riod?

“The cur­rent Parts Dis­tri­bu­tion Cen­tre in Palmer­ston North was set up in the late Sev­en­ties and has un­der­gone sev­eral ex­pan­sions since then,” he said. “Last year we shipped out over 800,000 lines to our cus­tomers, which I would prob­a­bly equate to a cou­ple of mil­lion in­di­vid­ual parts.”

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