Auto Parts Knock-offs Vs Reality
A very interesting article I found is O’Reilly Auto Parts – seekingalpha.com – which tells it as I see it. The autoparts sector has simply taken off and it certainly didn’t take long for the Chinese to capatilise on this. The question is – are these parts any good? A work colleague had to recently rebuild the top of his Toyota Conquest when the cam belt broke and he was shocked at the price difference between Toyota’s factory parts as opposed to the knock-offs. The parts look almost identical, the knock-offs weighed the same and the machining was faultless. Likewise a similar story told to me by a vendor – his Audi A4 1.8 engine went in for a rebuild using some OEM and some pirate parts. He was sceptical about it but said the company that did the rebuild (in Johannesburg) came highly recommended. 60 000 Km later he has had no problems and this was at one third of the original manufacturer/dealership quote. In the 50’s and 60’s people scoffed at the very idea of Japan trying to push their auto products onto the west. They now have the last laugh. Likewise what the Chinese don’t get right now they will get right in another 5 years. Already in South Africa we have Chinese engines on the market for R7500.00 (1 000U$) – this is for a Toyota 1.4l engine, with alternator. How good is it? I don’t know – time will tell. Toyota make very reliable engines, topping this is going to be difficult to impossible. At present the Chinese lead the field in the auto electronics sector. Alternator prices are absurd even with copper being so expensive. Not so with our Chinese parts. Ditto with starter motors. I welcome the Chinese into this industry – owning a car is no longer a luxury, servicing it is. We have added a link to the Alibaba website below which specialises in global trade for both import and export. A really worthwhile browse.
Alibaba.com (HKSE: 1688) (1688.HK) is the global leader in e-commerce for small businesses and the flagship company of Alibaba Group.
Founded in 1999 in Hangzhou, China, Alibaba.com makes it easy for millions of buyers and suppliers around the world to do business online through three marketplaces: a global trade platform (www.alibaba.com) for importers and exporters; a Chinese platform (www.1688.com) for domestic trade in China; and, through an associated company, a Japanese platform (www.alibaba.co.jp) facilitating trade to and from Japan. In addition, Alibaba.com offers a transaction-based wholesale platform on the global site (www.aliexpress.com) geared for smaller buyers seeking fast shipment of small quantities of goods. Together, these marketplaces form a community of more than 61 million registered users in more than 240 countries and regions.
If one needs to know more about Chinese engines the web has many interesting reads and links. I prefer reading the motorcycle pages (and ATV). It all comes down to what the Chinese don’t produce right they will later. And oh yes, tooling all seems similar to the Honda, including die cast. Loncins are a case in point. The biggest engine I have seen was a 400 odd cc and it was a triple. Question is: Can one modify these or will they fall apart? Will the Toyota 1.4l knock-off do more than 20 000 miles? The Getz carries the same price tage as a European car. I think as the development and quality improves so will the price go up. But currently our OEM parts area is a rip-off globally. The Chinese will take over the market like their computer motherboard manufacturers. If I had the money I’d be backing an aftermarket / parts warehouse in my home country right now. Motorcycles, automobiles, marine, lawnmowers and generators. You just can’t go wrong. Or can you?
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