You Thought That Car Was Expensive? Wait Until You Get Fleeced By The Shop

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
you thought that car was expensive wait until you get fleeced by the shop

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.”

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  • Skor Skor on Mar 31, 2012

    The war over who gets to supply replacement parts is as old as the car. During the early days of the US auto industry, there was a court case about just that. The courts ruled that it was OK for independent parts suppliers to provide replacement parts. The auto companies were not happy since OEM parts biz was incredibly lucrative. Henry Ford stated that he would give away his cars if he could get a monopoly on supplying replacement parts.

  • Terry Terry on Mar 31, 2012

    GSLIPPY...I brought up the Skyactive because YOU called it rubbish, and outside of the numbers, you havent even driven the car. Are we drivers, or are we armchair automotive critics? Of course doing the job yourself--provided it is successful-- would be less expensive than paying anybody to do the work. That is a given. But all too often owners--even technicians--make the mistake of getting into the "Get a code, get a part" diagnostic method. Yours worked out..but let's say that P0340/345 code wasnt repaired after replacing the part. As an engineer with your experience, you could probably trace it down. But how many others could? You might work on your car(s), friends, others at times. Try doing this 8 hours a day from 3 to 10 cars a day, and we have to prove the part is bad before we replace it, and if it doesnt fix the issue, we take the part off, and re-diagnose at no cost to the customer. Our goal is customer satisfaction and "Fix It Right The First Time" My point is that there are 2 sides to every story, and the drift of this thread is that dealerships are "stealerships". Dont paint us all with the same brush regardless of your personal experiences. As one who takes pride in my profession, I respond in kind to those that denigrate it. I apologize for my "tone" in my posts. Terry

    • See 1 previous
    • Terry Terry on Apr 02, 2012

      @SCE to AUX GSlippy--as an engineer you would appreciate all the changes and technology that falls under the Skyactive umbrella. The engine, transmission, chassis, braking etc have well over 150 patents applied for. Ive been through all the Skyactive training, work on them and drive them every day. To say that the term 'Skyactive"is merely a "cool product name" shows that you have not the slightest idea of what these cars are made of. Which then leads to credibility, or lack thereof. Armchair critics indeed. Carry on.

  • ToolGuy "The more aerodynamic, organic shape of the Mark VIII meant ride height was slightly lower than before at 53.6 inches, over 54.2” for the Mark VII."• I am not sure that ride height means what you think it means.Elaboration: There is some possible disagreement about what "ride height" refers to. Some say ground clearance, some say H point (without calling it that), some say something else. But none of those people would use a number of over 4 feet for a stock Mark anything.Then you go on to use it correctly ("A notable advancement in the Mark VIII’s suspension was programming to lower the ride height slightly at high speeds, which assisted fuel economy via improved aerodynamics.") so what do I know. Plus, I ended a sentence with a preposition. 🙂
  • ToolGuy The dealer knows best. 🙂
  • ToolGuy Cool.
  • ToolGuy This truck is the perfect size, and the fuel economy is very impressive.-This post sponsored by ExxonMobil
  • ToolGuy If I were Jeep, I would offer a version with better NVH and charge more for it.And then I would offer a version with worse NVH, and charge more for it. (There is an audience for both.)