Happy 4th of July and welcome to another great edition of “Ask Rick”. Rick Schmidt is never one to shy away from the hard hitting questions and this month was no exception. After last months bombshell about pricing and how COVID-19 is affecting the costs of everything, there were a lot of listener questions about the parts themselves……and where they really come from. He may need to have all listeners sign a non disclosure agreement after this interview, but he definitely let the cards fall where they may.
Here was the big discussion (and myth debunk): Aren’t all aftermarket parts made in just three plants in Taiwan, and they’re really all the same no matter the brand? Rick laid out the reality of this eight ways from Sunday. The answer is complicated to say least. Are there really 3 factories in Taiwan stamping out all of our favorite parts? No, of course not. The amount of tooling required to do all of that would take up the state of Rhode Island. Do the many multiple factories – who are competing with each other – actually have to competitively work together? Actually, they do. Shipping of parts is a key reason however.
But not all parts are the same of course, nor are they intended to be. There are over 1300 different suppliers in the NPD rolodex and there are even multiple suppliers competing for the same part on more popular muscle cars. The difference between suppliers is in the quality, strength, and accuracy of the part and NPD tries to source the best choices or parts at the different price levels. Sometimes someone just needs a fender for a daily driver and others will need a full concours, factory quality part for that top of the line show stopper.
Another restoration part myth is that given the choice, customers would buy the “Made in USA” Original Equipment quality parts every time instead of foreign sourced lower priced units. This is actually true….but only on lower priced (think less than $40) type items. He gave the example of some Mustang fenders that he currently has in inventory that were the last made from original Ford tooling from the 1960s. These would be the epitome of USA OEM fenders, and yet the foreign made (and far cheaper) parts are out selling them every day. The price of home sourced high quality parts usually changes peoples minds when it comes time to pay for the parts in your shopping cart.
This interview sponsored by our pals at National Parts Depot – your premier source for muscle car restoration parts!