By on September 8, 2010

DNA India reports that Tata is making a concerted effort to source parts for Jaguar and Land Rover from low cost countries like China, India (duh!) and Poland. DNA’s source for this claim said: “Earlier, Ford used to procure 17 percent from low-cost countries like Poland, China and India, whereas Tata Motors is planning to increase it to 35 percent.” Tata has buys more than just cheap parts. They outsourced low-end design and development work to lower-wage countries. But before you start the “If you thought JLR reliability was bad now…” don’t get too carried away.

BMW recently signed a $170m contract with the Mando Corp, a South Korean company to supply brakes to the Munich based car maker. This is in addition to 11 other South Korean suppliers which BMW already has on their list. Cars from nearly all manufacturers are up to their headliner full of Asian parts. Suppliers from low cost countries are here to stay. The question is, will their customers keep the quality of the items supplied in check? After all, if you make something to specifications, you’ve been set, what else can a supplier do?

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13 Comments on “JLR Looks East For Supplies...”

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    Most parts only have to last as long as the the car remains in the first owner’s hands, or the lease expires, whichever comes first. After that, it’s probably getting serviced at someplace other than a dealer. How many independent mechanics insist on OEM parts?

    • 0 avatar

      How many independent mechanics insist on OEM parts?
      The ones that don’t want their customer coming back during the six month to one year warranty period for another alternator or brake caliper.  A good independent mechanic that depends on repeat business needs to be choosy.
      It’s the chain stores and do it yourself home mechanics that slap on whatever, because it is the lowest priced part.

  • avatar

    My guess is that all manufacturers will have to jump on this band wagon.  East Asia is their largest market.
    Chasing the lowest common denominator won’t be good for the JLR image, however.
    This is already old news with regards to aftermarket parts from your local auto parts store for older vehicles.
    The Wall Street owned national chains have been substituting OEM quality for Chinese, Indonesian and Taiwanese knock offs for a few years now. Too bad these Asian knock-offs are not half or a third of the price at retail as the OEM parts from North America.

    • 0 avatar

      North American OEM’s have been incorporating Chinese and Indian made parts in to their vehicles for a long time now.  However, they speak in very hushed tones about this practice.
      When I visited an electroplater in Nantong (China) several years ago I saw them processing step rails for the Hummer H2 (ie, another Chinese factory made the rails and sent them to our plater for chrome plating).
      The 3.4L V6 in the Mark I Chevrolet Equinox was built by Shanghai GM in China.  The person who was in charge of this program was the wife of one of my ex-colleagues.
      From what I understand most of the threaded fasteners (nuts and bolts) in D3 cars comes from India and Taiwan.  GM’s main supplier of radiator caps is an Indian company called Sundram Fasteners Ltd.
      While it is not good for manufacturing jobs in North America global sourcing is already a hard reality in most every industry.  The cheap Chinese made goods you see on the shelves at Walmart are but the visible tip of a very large iceberg.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s not just the D3 automakers who’ve been incorporating Chinese parts in their vehicles.  Toyota/Lexus has been doing the same thing.  It doesn’t affect their image, because the average customer does not lift the hood or look under the dash to see what’s stamped on the parts, so thus is blissfully unaware their European or Japanese luxury car has parts from less prestigious countries.  The 07 Lexus ES I got rid of recently had “China” stamped on all the audio speakers, for example.  While the stereo in that car had worse sound quality than my toddler’s Fisher Price keyboard, I don’t blame that on where the audio system parts were made but on Toyota specifying cheap-charlie junk for the base audio system to encourage buyers to spend $1.8K on the premium audio option.

    • 0 avatar

      The 3.4L V6 in the Mark I Chevrolet Equinox was built by Shanghai GM in China. 

      Very true.  Also, most vehicles now have their electronics  source from Chinese suppliers.

  • avatar
    Eye Forget

    The premise all of you are basing your comments on is the quality of products produced in lower cost countries is inferior to those made in higher cost countries. Understandably, your comments are based on the junk you see in US mass market retail outlets.  These people source the cheapest available product.  Remember, Americans want “value”.
    Your comments are better directed at the Home Depot’s, Walmarts and Pep Boys of the world.  They are the issue with poor quality.

  • avatar

    Our man in China can comment more accurately than I, but the word I hear from my Japanese friends (in manufacturing in China but not in the car biz) is that the Chinese CAN produce fine quality as long as they’re monitored. However, don’t go on vacation, or home for the evening, or to lunch or to take a piss. It’s not lack of ability but, well, a different view of the values of quality vs. cash now by any means.
    Thus you get the chemical-tainted milk scandals (plural) and so forth.

    What’s the old Chinese saying? “God is in heaven and the Emperor far away and by the time they find out, I’ll be gone with your money and you’ll be dead”. Something like that.

    I am pretty sure that BMW is watching them pretty closely after having to replace all the wiring for my tail lights in my 2004 325i after it started melting.  The front turn signals were just starting to go when I dumped it  uhm,  traded it in on a new one, just before the warranty expired.
    Oh, and all four window regulators. not to mention a couple of coils.

    • 0 avatar

      You are absolutely right. All major OEMs have permanent sourcing offices in China. Precise specifications and tough quality control are a must. The Japanese are famous for getting top quality out of China. But you’ve got to be there, and you need to know at least two words of Chinese. “Bu hao” (no good.)

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Lowest cost country manufacturing has heavily impacted the automotive parts sector. Even OEM parts are made in China. Though they may look alike all parts are not created equal. Chinese white box parts are ill-famed for skimping on specifications. Who stands behind them is more important than where they were made.

    I prefer OEM parts. In recent years, however, certain automakers have seriously downgraded parts quality. Some aftermarket items are higher caliber, have a superior warranty and are better priced. GM and Chrysler brake components among others are suspect. I trust and heed my mechanic’s advice.

  • avatar
    M 1

    Anybody who owned a mid-2000’s Benz can tell you just how horribly wrong the switch to Asian electronics can be.

  • avatar

    Anybody who owned a mid-2000′s Benz can tell you just how horribly wrong the switch to Asian electronics can be.
    Thats when Lexus, Infinity all were inside the big gate after crossing the Chappadiquick moat.

  • avatar

    I am pretty sure that BMW is watching them pretty closely after having to replace all the wiring for my tail lights in my 2004 325i after it started melting.  The front turn signals were just starting to go when I dumped it uhm,  traded it in on a new one, just before the warranty expired.
    On another thread ve talked about vibrating sensor that’re self powered. So it better be something from Elvis or Jerry Lewis’ song ” A whole lot of shakin goin on ”
    I guess the engineers just figure out how many strands of copper wire they can skimp out before it will heat up maturely in 3 yrs.
    Dont laugh at that, Chrysler used to build trans that expires before the 3yrs up so they had to fix them under W, then they make the brass ring ( or whatever crucial component )  thicker so it can be extended  to 4 yrs, and they’re off the hook.

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