Brand Loyalty - is it a Thing of the Past? - Engine Builder Magazine

Brand Loyalty – is it a Thing of the Past?

Well folks, it’s late September and summer has officially come to a close. If you’re like me, you’ll miss those warm weather days and longer hours of daylight, but it’s been a great few months of race events, car shows, seeing customers, visiting shops, and of course, creating tons of content. In fact, one of those content pieces that will be big for us this fall is Engine Builder’s Dream Engine Giveaway – a twin-supercharged 427 small block Ford we are building with Chris Wright of Pro Car Associates / MVT. You can enter to win this engine here: We’ll be sharing updates via our website, YouTube and social media channels as we get the build done in time to be given away at PRI in December. But, all of that is for another time.

I bring up our supercharged small block Ford build, because in trying to spec this engine with lots of quality parts, I’ve gotten to see firsthand the lingering effects of the supply chain issues biting this industry. Of course, we’re working with some really great component manufacturers and suppliers to build out this engine, but the experience has definitely given me more respect for what you folks have had to deal with day-in and day-out these last 18 months waiting on parts. Remember the days of overnight shipping or only waiting a week or less to get your custom-ordered parts? Today, wait times for some parts are six months or more! 

However, just as you builders are having to wait on parts, many manufacturers are having the same issues with sourcing materials to make those parts. Obviously, this mess can’t be blamed on any one person or one company, but these supply chain issues have caused a lot of changes to occur in this industry, and for some, it’s meant opportunity rather than despair.

With shops as busy as they’ve ever been, and customers still expecting to receive their engines, it’s meant that brand loyalty has gone out the window in many cases – from small shops to major suppliers – people just have to source parts that are available. You know as well as I do that getting builders to change what manufacturers they use for certain components can be a tough task, but their hand has been forced recently.

And it’s not just our engine building industry that’s been affected obviously. There have been many similar stories where a brand substitute is gaining share just because they have availability. Imagine all the effort and investment over the past decades in building a well-known and respected brand to now see revenue swept away when the product is not on the shelf. Will it ever come back? How long will it take? What will it cost? Is the manufacturer’s relationship with the shop, supplier or retailer strong enough to win back the shelf?

People have had to rethink who they can rely on to get them engine parts, or they may be making parts themselves, and it’s more than likely changed their perception of who to go to for parts in the future. Legacy brands are being pushed aside for the smaller guys or newer brands they haven’t tried before, and it’s those who have parts availability that are winning right now. If they can keep it up or make a good impression on those new customers, they may be well ahead when the supply chain corrects itself.

In this day and age, you can’t take availability for granted and you can make it a competitive advantage. While there is definitely a cost for producing and carrying the inventory, there could be a bigger, long-term cost if you don’t have it. EB

You May Also Like

PRI 2021: What a Show

First things first – Happy New Year to you all. I sincerely hope you got to be with friends and family during the holidays and that you all had a safe and fun end to 2021. We’ve now officially welcomed 2022, and as the holidays have quickly come and gone, as they always do, I

First things first – Happy New Year to you all. I sincerely hope you got to be with friends and family during the holidays and that you all had a safe and fun end to 2021. We’ve now officially welcomed 2022, and as the holidays have quickly come and gone, as they always do, I found myself reflecting back on the year.

New Year’s Resolution

It’s crazy to think that 2021 is coming to a close. The days and weeks in a year always feel long, but the months and the year itself, absolutely fly by. It’s strange how that always is the case. There’s no stopping Father Time as they say! All we can do is forge ahead and

Not Your Father’s Engine Builder

I’ve actually lost track of how long it’s been since people started claiming print was dead. It’s been a while! Now, I understand the ‘print is dead’ claim might be different for newspapers than it is for magazines, but I can tell you this – the content landscape has certainly been shifting. Related Articles –

Experience Always Wins

Formula 1 racing often tells smaller stories within each individual race; the final stretches of the Russian Grand Prix proved in my eyes that experience always wins.

Should Driving Be Outlawed by 2050?

As the world changes, so too does the automotive industry. Will self-driving cars eventually take over?

Other Posts

Science vs. Religion

Something I sometimes take for granted in this industry is the amount of knowledge at our disposal. It comes from all walks of life, different ages, genders, regions, as well as from different areas of manufacturing, development, engine building, racing, you name it. We have some very smart, talented people helping spread information throughout our

Where Have All the Engine Parts Gone?

Does this sound familiar? “We are experiencing issues within the supply chain that has created manufacturing delays, temporary stock-outs, longer lead times and increased cost. You may experience delays in shipment and product shortages. We are committed to working through these challenges and thank you for your patience and support.” Related Articles – The EPA

Protect Yourself as a Small Business

This month’s column is for all those folks in automotive performance with a small business, as well as those looking to get into this segment of the industry. Automotive performance is this gray area that comes with risks and rewards as well as customers who don’t know what they don’t know. If you’re not careful,

April Has Been Good to Me

Two years ago this month, I was promoted to editor of this fine publication and brand we call Engine Builder. After having been in the managing editor role for the five years prior, I got my chance to run the ship, as they say, when Doug Kaufman accepted an editorial director role within Babcox Media