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William Phenn

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Member Since: May, 2008

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Auto Industry Insider (Foreign Parts)
by William Phenn   
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Last edited: Saturday, May 03, 2008
Posted: Saturday, May 03, 2008

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William Phenn

Auto Industry Insider (Unsafe at any speed)
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A primer on foreign parts in America

 

Auto Industry Insider©
ByWilliam Phenn
 
Hello again!
 
Well, here we are looking for parts for the old Pick-up. I needed to replace the alternator a few months ago but just never got around too it. While I had the time and the weather was nice, I decided to do the water pump too. I had a little overheating problem and noticed the pump was starting to go bad. An alternator and a water pump and I’d be set for a while. So after calling around town, I found both parts at two different stores.
Guess what happened when I got there? Not only were the brand new parts I needed not brand new (remanufactured), but they were made in Malaysia. Well, I knew that, so it wasn’t news to me. But I’ll bet it is news to some of you out there?
 
Yes Dear Readers, you will find that when you go to the Dealership or an Auto Parts store to get parts for that American Ford, Chevy or Chrysler, most of the replacement parts are now made overseas. Some might even say, “Made in USA”. Don’t be fooled, there is a village in China called, you got it! USA! That’s USA without the periods in between.
So this is what it has come down to, replacement parts made everywhere but here. And again, (as is my practice) if you don’t believe me, just look on the boxes of most of the parts on the shelf. I’m not saying all, but most of them will say “Made everywhere else but America”. I know, (I have a friend that does inventories for auto dealerships all over the country and sometimes I’d help him out.) I have seen at least 65% of the parts on the shelf were foreign made.
 
I will even relate to you another fact. Back in the 80’s I was part of a group that was given the task of copying body panels from popular American cars. The idea was so they could be made in Fiberglass like hoods and deck lids for Camaros, Firebirds, Mustangs and other popular accidents waiting to happen. The company I worked for was doing this under the guise of weight reduction, to replace the hood and deck lids of hot rods. That was all fine and good but guess what happened a few years down the road?
A Chinese company was using those same drawings and manufacturing replacement (steel) parts as an Original Equipment Manufacturer for not just the hot rod versions but all Mustangs, Camaros and Firebirds. They even took it one step further; they began doing it for fenders and doors on Grandma’s Buick and other cars! Now if that wasn’t bad enough, they actually sold these inferior parts to Dealerships.
The insurance companies loved the idea because the parts cost a third of original parts. Everybody loved the idea because everybody was (as is the American way) making money on the deal. The Chinese that bought our scrap and recycled it into new (?) parts for our cars, the wholesaler because he could sell those parts cheaper than the real originals, the dealership because they could charge the insurance company a little (not much) less and still fix your car and last but not least, the insurance company that got your car fixed and didn’t have to shell out an arm and a leg for that Cadillac hood. So now let’s recap. We have remanufactured engine and transmission parts for my old pick up, we have body panels for my old pick up and all these made in USA, China? Then, would I be considered as driving a foreign truck? Just food for thought the next time you go look at a Toyota (built in Tennessee), Honda (built in Ohio),
Nissan (built in Georgia) and oh yes, Mazda (built in Michigan). These my friends are not Foreign cars, they are built by Americans in America. As a parting shot, guess where the major engineering for the Corvette and Lincoln has been done for the past ten years (at least ten)? England…:>)
 



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