Tough Love Our Engine Aftermarket Needs It
Tough love. It means taking action that isn’t always easy and comes at some cost, but it is absolutely necessary to the well-being of the ones you care deeply about.
Our industry is in dire need of some tough love! Specifically, parts manufacturers supplying the aftermarket, engine builders and their parts distributors need to find a quick solution to the sorry state of profit margins that have been in a downward spiral – for many businesses – for far too long.
Look at the expectations of today’s vehicle owner. The replacement parts have to perform as well as the OEM parts, and the job has to be done right the first time.
Too often over the past decade, or longer, in the face of rising consumer expectations for higher quality, the relationships between engine builders, their parts distributors and parts manufacturers have been more adversarial than cooperative. We are now beginning to clearly see the negative impact of such relationships.
There is an alarming and increasing trend for vehicle service repair garages to consider an OEM replacement part rather than one sourced from an aftermarket supplier. Even some engine builders I’ve spoken with have said they have begun to use more OEM parts when building an engine. The simple reason is that aftermarket engine parts suppliers can’t provide replacement parts at the quality levels many engine builders or parts distributors are willing to pay. So when the cheaper part fails they turn to an OEM replacement part? That dog won’t hunt for long in today’s independent aftermarket!
I don’t see independent vehicle service garages charging consumers the prices they did 10 years ago. Those costs are up significantly. A visit to most any independent repair garage or vehicle dealer service department will reveal hourly labor rates ranging from $55 to $80 or more. And people are paying it!
Of even more concern, I see an increasing number of vehicle owners taking their cars and trucks back to the new car dealer because of concerns over quality issues with a repair.
It’s time to get our house in order. We must cultivate better relationships between engine builders, parts manufacturers and parts distributors based on profitable transactions for everyone in the food chain. We need business relationships built on trust, relationships that allow all parties to deliver profitable, quality products that installers and consumers demand and expect.