Good independent garages prefer to fit parts manufactured by original equipment (OE) suppliers because they want to “fit and forget” – says Nigel Morgan, Managing Director of Schaeffler Automotive Aftermarket (UK) Ltd and Chairman of the recently formed Original Equipment Suppliers Aftermarket Association (OESAA).
OESAA, whose slogan is ‘Our quality – Your reputation’, represents the leading manufacturers and suppliers of automotive parts to vehicle manufacturers. Its main aims are to promote the benefits of OE quality and to remind garages and distributors that they always have a choice when purchasing spare parts.
Nigel Morgan said: “We just want to make sure independent garages have all the relevant facts so they can make a credible, informed choice of what components they choose to fit.”
His views have been backed by Andy Savva, of Brunswick Garage in North London, who said: “Fitting sub-standard parts can cost garages their reputation, as well as time and money for both them and their customer.
“I always fit parts that have been sourced from the original equipment suppliers to ensure that I can justifiably claim that my technicians are trained to the same standards as the franchise dealerships and the parts we use are of the same quality and reliability.”
OESAA exhibited recently at the Mechanex show at Donington Park, where garages and distributors were able to compare a wide range of components produced by original equipment parts manufacturers against the non-OE quality equivalents.
At a press conference held during the show, OESAA members expressed concerns that some aftermarket parts suppliers are claiming to ‘match OE quality’, even though it is clear by physically comparing the components that they don’t.
The Press were told that the group will only use the OESAA logo on products that are fitted as original equipment, it will not be used for non-OE product publicity, and they were given a Press pack which outlined the reasons behind the formation of the group and its aims and ambitions.
OESAA stresses that there are other brands in the market offering quality products, but that its target is to raise the awareness of the need to fit the highest possible quality parts and also of the dangers of supplying and fitting sub-standard components.
The 14 current OESAA members employ more than 8,300 people in the UK and will undertake a combined 10,000 hours of training this year. With a second wave of members expected to join by the end of the year, OESAA is set to embark on a quality awareness campaign.