By on January 24, 2017

Omnicraft Parts

A few months from now, if you’re driving your Chevrolet to get serviced and accidentally pull into a Ford automotive center, they will probably have you covered. In a bid to snag a little piece of everyone else’s action, Ford is launching a new parts brand for vehicles made by other automakers.

Omnicraft, the first new brand for Ford’s customer service division in over half of a century, is part of a clever plot to steer consumers toward the Blue Oval while capitalizing on the thriving parts industry. The United States imports nearly $150 billion in auto parts from China each year. Omicraft gives Ford the opportunity to take a stab at usurping some of that business for itself.

Considering that the average car has been on the road for eleven years now, rolling out this this brand is a minor stroke of genius. 

While fixing competitors’ vehicles at a Ford dealership provides a golden opportunity to woo prospective customers to the showroom floor, the automaker is serious about growing its parts business. Motorcraft underwent a massive restructuring program last year designed to make parts more affordable and readily available.

However, Ford won’t be building the Omnicraft components itself. The company has a plan in place for suppliers to manufacture the parts for the automaker and then sell them at a profit.

Ford is offering 1,500 Omnicraft parts to start things off — common items like oil filters, struts, alternators, brake pads, and rotors. That should expand into 10,000 components within three years, said Frederiek Toney, president of Ford’s customer service division.

“Omnicraft is a significant benefit to any vehicle owner who needs parts or to have their vehicle serviced,” said Toney. “Now, owners of non-Ford vehicles have access to quality parts at a competitive price, backed by Ford and installed by Ford’s world-class certified technicians.”

Parts should start arriving at almost every Ford and Lincoln dealership in the U.S. later this month, with certified repair shops following. Parts and labor performed at Ford dealerships will include a two-year warranty, which is the same warranty offered by Ford’s Motorcraft brand.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

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59 Comments on “Ford Launches Omnicraft Parts Brand to Cleverly Steal Everyone Else’s Business...”


  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Hmmm, as a practical matter this is basically Ford trying to be the jobber side of Napa or Autozone.

  • avatar
    White Shadow

    I worked for many years as a dealership technician and I can say for certain that 99.99% of the vehicles in the shop were the same brand as the dealership. The only time I ever saw a different brand of vehicle is if one of the techs were fixing a friend or family member’s car.

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      I used to have my Caddy fixed at Chevy because it was cheaper than at Caddy and they had the same dang parts.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      The majority of this business will be focused on wholesale accounts. Accounts that dealers likely already deal with for Ford parts, but will try and fill more of their needs for off-make stuff. Kinda like AC Delco is to GM, though GM has an independent channel for that where this will likely be pushed exclusively through dealers. Dealers will also use it to recondition used vehicles, keeping the part sale in house with higher margins rather than from NAPA etc.

    • 0 avatar
      Ion

      I get a couple of cars for ny state inspection. We’re listed on the DMV website as an inspection station and you get a free car wash. It’s not a bad deal for 10 or 37 bucks.

    • 0 avatar
      varinki

      It depends. I worked at a Ford dealership for a while and about half the cars getting worked on on a given day were not Fords.

  • avatar
    BaBlogger77

    Seems as though dealers have enough problems trying to competently fix their own brand’s vehicles with factory support, so I think this is a misguided effort. Maybe the warranty is a benefit depending upon whether the dealer truly stands behind it. How will work performed on another vehicle under warranty by a Ford dealer affect that warranty?

    Other than convenience, is there really a cost benefit to taking a Chevy to a Ford dealer to fix? Labor rates are probably similar, and I wonder is the parts prices will really be significantly different.

    • 0 avatar
      White Shadow

      True. Here’s the other problem–people generally don’t bring their vehicles back to a dealership after the warranty is over. They’re more likely to find a local independent shop that charges less money. And even they did go back to the dealership for non-warranty work, they’d most likely stick to their own brand simply because of the notion that “nobody knows your Ford car better than a Ford Service Dept”, which has some merit.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      You’re going to the wrong dealer. My preferred dealer is not only competent, but I have multiple examples of taking my cars there, after other shops were unable to address the issue.

      I’ve also shopped around on other repairs and surprisingly often, the dealer is competitively priced.

      The shop down the street is both honest and convenient. I’ll gladly bring them my business when it makes sense. Often, it makes more sense to take it to the dealer.

  • avatar
    Bunter1

    “Steal” their business? Please.
    Taking an opportunity to earn it yes, steal, no.

    Cheerio,
    Bunter

    • 0 avatar
      DearS

      I really like this comment! I think about what I say and what my words mean. Words can be very important. Good catch! I plan on remembering this!

      We are all response-able for what we say!

      That being said I am loving Moog parts and their (apparent) dedication to great parts. Putting those on my Honda, Mazda and future sports car! Don’t see Ford having that kind awesomeness with their parts. I hope so though.

  • avatar
    orenwolf

    Huh.

    how big IS the aftermarket parts business anyway? I live in a bubble in a massive urban space where no one has room to perform their own auto servicing, so of everyone I know I can think literally one ONE individual who has even the opportunity to do their own work (and they’d never dare to use 3rd party parts). When I imagine the average NAPA customer, I imagine a rural (or at least suburban) customer with a vehicle at *least* half a decade old that they’re running until it dies. Given that even in the US the propensity for leases is increasing, isn’t that more or less a shrinking market?

    • 0 avatar
      White Shadow

      Those leased cars will end up with second and third owners. Those are the owners who will be visiting local parts stores and they probably won’t care much about paying more for OEM parts when they are just trying to keep an older vehicle running as inexpensively as possible.

    • 0 avatar
      mike1dog

      About 150 billion dollars, and the chart I saw says it has increased every year since 2008, when it was about 117 billion. The only thing I’ll say about Omnicraft is that dealers aren’t exactly overly excited about it.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        “The only thing I’ll say about Omnicraft is that dealers aren’t exactly overly excited about it.”

        Most dealer parts departments are perfectly content serving their captive brand market and nothing else. Only the wholesale focused dealers will make anything of this. Then, there is the uphill battle of changing decades of ingrained habits of calling the dealer last for parts, let alone all makes at a Ford dealer.

        FCA has been doing this for a few years with Magneti Marelli.

        • 0 avatar
          heavy handle

          Most dealers don’t understand parts sales.

          One local Toyota dealer does, and I’ve heard they net millions off of their parts department. They keep lots of stock, hire knowledgeable staff, keep prices reasonable, and do their best to support independents.
          That way they get a cut from jobs done at other shops.

          Most other local dealers think that independents are their competitors, so they lose the business to aftermarket suppliers.

        • 0 avatar
          la834

          I was wondering how FCA was handling this same issue. “Mopar” is way to closely associated with Chrysler et. al. for a Honda guy to think of using their parts.

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      The aftermarket parts business is HUGE. It contributes to more than 2.3% of GDP and is worth over 320 billion dollars.

      https://www.sema.org/products/28312/2016-sema-market-report?__utma=95790915.305924608.1485279035.1485279039.1485279039.1&__utmb=95790915.0.10.1485279039&__utmc=95790915&__utmx=-&__utmz=95790915.1485279039.1.1.utmcsr=google|utmccn=(organic)|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=(not%20provided)&__utmv=-&__utmk=205724635

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      No the average NAPA customer never ever sets foot in a store. He either calls up the store or logs on and orders the part and in about an hour it shows up at his shop. That part then goes on the vehicle of those people who either do not have the space or knowledge to do it themselves.

      My brother was the manager of a NAPA for several years and in his store about 70% of the gross profit came from those commerical customers and those customers paid less for the same part than if walked out the front door. Plus much of the parts that did walk out the front door were high margin fluff like air fresheners, cleaning products and not lower margin hard parts.

      There is a reason why when you drive by your local NAPA or O’riely’s after hours you will see 2,3 or more vehicles parked out front, those are the delivery vehicles that are responsible for keeping the lights on.

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      “I live in a bubble in a massive urban space where no one has room to perform their own auto servicing, so of everyone I know I can think literally one ONE individual who has even the opportunity to do their own work (and they’d never dare to use 3rd party parts). ”

      Dude this answered alot of questions that I had about you…thanks

      • 0 avatar
        orenwolf

        Yeah, it’s unfortunate. I took Auto Mechanics through high school and loved it, made me a car guy in the sense that I promptly went out and purchased service manuals for vehicles I subsequently owned, but there’s nowhere I could actually *work* on my vehicles. A lot of my friends would probably tinker a bit if they could, but in a city of four million people you’re pretty restricted in space (or you’re a millionaire).

        Urban Canada has been all about leasing new vehicles of late, so I don’t even get to see a lot of off-warranty vehicles where parts purchases would be even an issue, and it looks like even if I *do* have the space to work on vehicles later in life, I’m going to have a BEV anyway, with *far* less parts to work on, anyway. I’ll never be able to relieve the fun I had in my youth tinkering with my teachers cars in auto shop. :)

    • 0 avatar
      nickoo

      Don’t be hating on NAPA…When it comes to comparisons between NAPA parts and big 3, NAPA are parts a step up, compare NAPA to A/C Delco (mexican junk) or motorcraft (often just rebranded parts from other parts suppliers) and you’ll immediately see the difference.

      I ALWAYS go with NAPA and haven’t been let down yet, as an engineer, I am amazed by the complete and utter garbage of GM/AC Delco parts, and that they are still in business.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Why Omnicraft if you can buy OEM online for decent price?

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Not every consumer is informed to the same level.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Perhaps Omnicraft has a decenter price….

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        Price is not everything. Better to install quality part than do job twice. I buy Toyota OEM filters from dealers on eBay, box of 10, $3.60 each. Corresponding Purolator at Pep Boys is $9.99 each.

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      Which OEM are you referring to???

      Because at autozone, they are filled with OEM parts: http://www.oemautoparts.net/

      But I wouldn’t trust OEM parts. I prefer Original Equipment Manufacturer parts…

      Which by the way if You REALLy want to save money, find out who the real manufacturer is for your original parts…

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        I’m 100% certain he’s talking about “OEM” as most of us understand it, not the shiesty brand hawking Chinese crap that seems to have recently sprung up and I’m sure is explicitly named to tap into the confusion they’ve caused, or shops eager to tell a customer they “used OEM parts” and charged accordingly, while using these shady off-brand “OEMparts” brand parts.

  • avatar
    arach

    I think the part a lot of people are missing is how relevant this can be.

    Today, Ford doesn’t just make parts for FORD. Car companies make and share a plethora of parts.

    Even engines are shared across OEMs.

    However, if I have a Ford engine in a mazda, Mazda can’t sell Ford parts, so they re brand it to a mazda part number.

    This would essentially allow them to control the market instead of relying on rebranding relationships.

    In fact its not crazy- Ford has recognized that the future of the industry is more sharing and partnering. This brand makes it easier to control all avenues of that market. They also recognize they can’t manufacture parts as cheap as what comes from China.

    Think of Microsoft. They don’t “Make” microsoft mouses and keyboards, but they essentially “validate” the product and improve its value in the market place. Ford would be doing the same thing. “Yes this is cheap crap from china, but we’ve validated that it will at least hold up and in doing so, can command a premium over the random air filter that is 72 cents shipped from alibaba”.

    I think its quite brilliant.

    K5 Optima store sells LED lights on its website for $25. Those same lights can be bought on ebay for $3, but people pay $25 because they 1. know it will work and 2. know it fits.

    When I buy the same LEDs from china for $1.26 for a set of 112 (exaggeration), They work 25% of the time (not an exaggeration). So sure I probably average 2-3 orders to get ones that work, but I pay $6 or less total. For most people though they’d rather just spend 25 bucks and know they got the ones that work.

  • avatar
    TwoBelugas

    That’s cute. They won’t support their own vehicle parts like cruise control wiring harness after just 7 years but hey, now they will be in the business of selling Mopar/GM/Toyota/whatever parts?

    LOLWTFord

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      That’s cute. You take on very oddball example of a very unusual situation for a configuration for about a dozen vehicles where, in the end, Ford wound up getting parts made.

      The reality is, Ford (GM, Toyota, whomever) are often the only place to go for specific parts for their particular brands. It’s not worth the engineering time for a third party to design and produce the part.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    “The United States imports nearly $150 billion in auto parts from China each year.”

    Has Ford cleared this with President Trump?

  • avatar
    GS 455

    ACDelco has been making parts for Fords for years now.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    “The United States imports nearly $150 billion in auto parts from China each year.”

    And they are almost universally junk.

  • avatar
    bills79jeep

    “However, Ford won’t be building the Omnicraft components itself. The company has a plan in place for suppliers to manufacture the parts for the automaker and then sell them at a profit.”

    This part (pun!) sounds fishy to me. Doesn’t seem to matter what brand of part you buy, all replacement parts seem to be bargain bin quality. They look like they came out of the same factory and were placed in differently branded boxes. x10 for electronics and sensors. Made in USA is great, but made to OEM quality is nice too. I wonder what Ford’s plan is. It’s one thing to have a Duralast hub with a 12mo warranty give out after 13 months (ahem) – but if my expensive dealer repair does the same I’m going to be doubly angry.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      That has been a huge problem for the past 20+ years. I do all of my own auto repair work, and I have lost track of the number of inferior quality aftermarket parts (even from top-name suppliers such as Gates) that failed after a few years, whereas the OEM parts lasted over a decade.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        redmond in my experience those top name suppliers are outsourcing at an incredible pace. Even in the last two years or so, timing belt kits from Gates are chock full of Chinese bearings and tensioners, and just recently Chinese crap is even starting to show up in Aisin t-belt kits, mixed in with the usual Japanese and American components.

        Moog is long gone in terms of quality IMO. Dorman is universally despised by all the mechanics that I know.

        On a bright note, my recent Timken branded purchases have yielded a) a Japanese re-branded Koyo front bearing and b) an Indiana-made Aisin rear hub assembly likewise rebranded and sold as Timken. Sad that Timken is not selling parts they made themselves here in the US, but I’ll take those re-branded quality parts of generic Chinese garbage.

        • 0 avatar
          bills79jeep

          Funny you mentioned Moog. I ponied up for the Moog hub this time around because the cheapo let me down. At least it has a 3 year warranty so at least I can get the next one for free…

          One time I bought a new radiator, replaced it on a Sunday afternoon. Went for a test drive, it had a huge leak. Bought another one at a different parts store – and then replaced it when everything was a toasty 210 degrees because I needed to drive the work the next morning. I was not pleased.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            For something non-critical like sway bar links I use them, I actually have lower control arm bushings from them (with extra zerks, a nice touch, same as the end links).

            But when it came to ball joints there was no messing around: OEM made in Japan Toyota parts. I feel the same way about tie rod ends.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Although the OEMs sometimes outsource parts and get from the same suppliers as the aftermarket manufacturers, too, so that you pretty much are just paying for the box and label. In rarer circumstances, the aftermarket part may have the labeling and parts numbers of the OEM part, making it identical. Sajeev had an example of the latter here: https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2016/04/piston-slap-cats-meow-oem-aftermarket-parts-part-ii/

      And even among automaker OEM parts themselves, manufacturers can use the same exact part and charge two different prices for it. You can bet that if Porsche uses a certain sensor, they’re going to charge more for it than, say, Hyundai. But if you find out they’re the same exact part, why not buy it at the Hyundai dealer.

      And that’s not to mention the fact that sometimes OEM quality…isn’t…again, because the OEM may have gotten the part from a supplier and cannot exercise control over the entire manufacturing process (read: Takata).Or the OEM may have knowingly specified the part to be under-engineered or under-built in order to save money (read: GM ignition switches).

      I suppose that what I’m trying to say is to do your research and realize that at some level, everything is outside your control and everyone can deceive you, so do the best you can.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        Yeah, “OEM” isn’t a guarantee of any particular level of quality or durability. Delphi sold a lot of domestic-made garbage parts to GM before they went bankrupt and were dismantled.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    This was a clever idea. I would, though, like to see what the durability on these parts is…as compared to their OEM equivalents. Ford could just be leveraging its name (although I don’t see a Ford logo anywhere on those boxes) on the same kind of crap budget aftermarket parts that typically fail. Or they could be really good. Hard to tell.

    One thing I will say is that even though I love Ford’s cars and am seriously considering a few of them for my TDI replacement, I think their service departments are at or near the bottom in terms of customer service and would avoid visiting them for any warranty work that I myself had to pay for.

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      Chinese manufacturing is really frustrating.

      There could be 10 products that are literally identical because they are direct knockoffs of eachother… same color, same look, same words…

      but one manufacturer is a legit player and the other 9 are crap knockoffs that don’t even work.

      I’ve bought enough LEDs from China to know how true this is… (Why even SELL something that literally doesn’t work? I don’t get it)

      But the kicker is, there is some decent stuff that comes from China. You can find 10 different manufacturers of the same thing on amazon and yet one product has 100 ratings of 4.5 stars, and the other 9 have 5 ratings of 1 star. they all cost 99 cents, but one is a great value and 9 literally don’t do anything.

      So I truly think Ford is going to Verify the “good” chinese crap, so when you see the brand you know its “fine” to use. Now it won’t be high quality, but it will be a safer bet than flipping a coin and buying from someone who says “BST AIIR FFLLLTER. MAKE CAR GO REAAAAALL FASSSSST WITH 924 HUSTPWWRR”

  • avatar
    Click REPLY to reload page

    So Ford is creating another brand of parts to sell from their own dealerships? Big deal. They overestimate how may people would actually shop for parts at a Ford dealer.
    Unless they figure out a way to compete with all the other auto parts stores and dealerships in town, Ebay, Rock Auto, Amazon, etc., this won’t go very far.
    Some suit in a meeting will get a nice severance package, though.

    As a consumer, I would think that buying a Chinese made part in a newfangled Ford box doesn’t make it any better quality, just more expensive.

  • avatar
    Jagboi

    China can build whatever you want and are prepared to pay for. If your goal is the cheapest price, they have a product for that. However, if Ford has specifified a particular set of specifications and life requirements they can build to that too, it’s just a matter of setting out the specs you want and paying to meet them. No different than manufacturing in any country really, you get what you pay for.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    So is this going to be a bunch of Chinese-made junk? There’s already too much of that in the market.

  • avatar
    mfgreen40

    If this works for Ford, GM might just lower their prices to match even if they make less profit for awhile.

  • avatar
    krohde

    Everybody saying “nobody is going to buy non-Ford parts at the Ford dealer” is ignoring that this effort isn’t targeted at the very small DIY minority of us left in the car world.

    I think this is smart of Ford, for a couple reasons:
    – Their dealerships already try to get non-Ford repair business. My local dealer (Thoroughbred Ford, Kansas City, MO) pushes this hard and uses the Owner Advantage Rewards program as the carrot – 5% back on all the service you get, regardless of the car’s make.
    – Cars are becoming more reliable (100k+ spark plugs, lifetime transmission oil, etc.), lessening the need for regular maintenance. The Takata recall isn’t going to last forever and those techs will need something to work on!
    – Going forward, when electrics have a bigger share of the market, there will be even less repairs needed since there’s so much less mechanical tech on them and lots of things will get fixed wirelessly through software updates, I think. So again, less need for repairs.

    And if it doesn’t work, it’s not going to have much effect on the Ford brand, or even the Motorcraft one – that’s why this is such a deliberately separate brand from them.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy67

      “The Takata recall isn’t going to last forever”

      You sure about that?

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      “fixed wirelessly through software updates, I think. So again, less need for repairs.”

      The amount of “modules,” or “control units” for every little thing on modern cars that in the past were perhaps controlled by a simple relay or rheostat is ever-increasing, the Germans in particular love them some little black boxes. When these things crap out on said Germans, it is an easy $500+ just for the part, plus the diagnostics fee to see which little black box failed and where it is located. On the whole, the boxes tend to be fairly reliable, but the more of them there are, the higher the chance that the owner will deal with one or more failing at some point.

  • avatar
    WalterRohrl

    Every Ford Dealer sells tons of used cars from other makes. It should not be too difficult to convince a customer that is buying one of those cars from you to think about using you for service and repairs. This makes perfect sense and will likely become the norm across the industry. Especially for cars that are not widely represented with dealerships in every little village, such as a Fiat 500 in South Dakota or a Mazda in some backwater in Iowa for example.

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