The campaign to promote the benefits of garages fitting original equipment (OE) parts is gathering pace with a publicity campaign being aimed directly at UK and Ireland independent workshops.
The recently formed Original Equipment Suppliers Aftermarket Association (OESAA) is planning a major workshop poster campaign to help them explain to their customers the merits of fitting OE parts.
The end-user experience is key to this message – namely that the car is more likely to ‘feel the same and drive the same’ if genuine OE parts are fitted.
Plus, the benefit for the installer is the reassurance that the product will fit first time, every time and that they can ‘fit it and forget it’.
OESAA, whose slogan is ‘Our quality – Your reputation’, represents 14 leading manufacturers and suppliers of OE automotive parts to vehicle-makers.
Its main aims are to promote the benefits of fitting OE quality components and to ensure that garages and distributors can make an informed choice when purchasing spare parts.
OESAA does not claim that all second line parts are poor quality; indeed some are of good quality, but they are not OE.
OESAA Chairman Nigel Morgan, Managing Director of Schaeffler Automotive Aftermarket (UK) Ltd, owners of the LuK clutch, INA tensioner & FAG wheel bearing OE brands, said: “We are currently focusing on the workshop side of the campaign and are designing posters that independent garages can use to explain to their customers the benefits of using OE parts.
“We are also increasing the intensity of our advertising campaign, both in the UK and Ireland, and all our members are investing heavily into getting the OE message across in their training programmes.”
He said the campaign had already attracted considerable interest throughout the automotive aftermarket, both from garages and distributors, and also from other leading OE suppliers.
Nigel Morgan said: “We have a list of companies that are looking to join the group and we expect to appoint five new members early next year.”
The campaign is being supported by leading industry technicians Frank Massey, of Automotive Diagnostic Solutions Ltd, and Andy Savva, of Brunswick Garage, North London.
Frank Massey, who features in the OESAA Media campaign, said: “I always insist on fitting parts from original equipment suppliers because I know that they are designed specifically for the vehicle I am working on and are made using the best materials to consistent and exacting quality standards.
“I know that cheaper alternatives may be available, but will they match the quality and reliability of the original? My customers expect nothing but the best from me, so nothing less than OE will do.
“I believe passionately in building quality into every job. You only get one chance to get it right so don’t risk your reputation on anything less.”
His views have been backed by Andy Savva, who said: “Fitting sub-standard parts can cost garages their reputation, as well as time and money for both them and their customer. The campaign increases awareness of these issues which is a good thing.
“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 members are concerned 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.
Garages and distributors will be able to compare a wide range of components produced by OESAA members against the non-OE quality equivalents at this month’s Mechanex Show at Sandown Park (Nov 12 & 13).
The group has pledged that its members will only use the OESAA logo on products that are fitted as original equipment; it will not be used for non-OE product publicity.
OESAA member companies employ more than 8,300 people in the UK and will undertake a combined 10,000 hours of training this year.
The group is currently working on enhancing its online presence at www.oe-suppliers.org with the addition of technical videos and literature for download.