Selling overpriced “Original” parts can be like printing money. I know carmakers that generate 30 percent of their profits out of parts sales. How do you drive parts sales? By forcing customers to stay as long as possible with your dealer, a money pit the customer tries to flee as early and as quickly as possible. The golden fleece in the business are repairs only an authorized dealer can perform, using overpriced parts only the authorized dealer has. Countless attempts have been made to break this monopoly. Another attempt is on the way.
For decades, there has been a cat and mouse game between manufacturers and the law. In the U.S. and in Europe, repair information must be made available to independents. But there is always some special information for authorized dealers only. The computerization of cars swung the pendulum towards auto manufacturers and their dealers. Why does a car key sometimes cost hundreds of dollars? Because it can.
OEMs face off with independent workshops, and especially with parts suppliers. Suppliers typically don’t make much money selling part to OEMs, but make a lot selling to independents, even at prices much lower than those of OEMs. Mark-ups between 10 and 100 times the ex-factory cost are not unheard of.
The European automotive supplier body CLEPA is tired of playing cat and mouse with manufacturers. CLEPA says will take at least one carmaker to court if manufacturers continue to withhold repair and maintenance information, Just-Auto writes.
Said CLEPA’s outgoing CEO Lars Holmqvist:
“We have come to the point where we are fed up. We have talked to the carmakers for one year and we have not reached an agreement which is satisfactory. When you buy a car you just don’t borrow it – you should have all the necessary information.”