If you look around the options list for pretty much every single new car that comes out these days, you notice a bunch of parts and accessories that only a few years ago where the specialty of the aftermarket firms. The market for car accessories and value-added packages has grown so lucrative, car makers themselves are now taking over, putting a lot of the aftermarket guys out of work.
For a consumer getting their parts and accessories from the original manufacturer sounds like a better deal. For one thing, these parts are designed and built by the same people who have made the car. So they work better with the car. There is also less hassle with fit and finish, seeing as these are installed at the factory or the authorized dealership. What’s more, some time a manufacturer offers accessories as a sort of bonus, throwing in some nice free options to lure the customers in.
And it’s all well and good. But there is something to be said about choosing your car accessories from the catalog of a well-known aftermarket specialist. And guess what, many of the car makers know this too, which is why often they commission these firms to build the part for them. Take the new 2019 Toyota TRD Pro series. These cars come with really fancy suspension components that play a major part in giving any SUV serious offroad capabilities. And they have been designed and built by Fox and not Toyota. Likewise, when you want to order a sport exhaust system from BMW M GmbH, their top offers always come from Akrapovic. And what is the brand of the finest leather upholstery you see on as the most expensive item on the options list? Katzkin.
The thing about the aftermarket specialists is that since they are focused on only a few specific parts, they often do a much better job, quality-wise and also creatively, than a design team who has a deadline for finishing a new hood scoop because they have to come up with some fog lights for the next model in pipeline. Aftermarket guys also have a better understanding of the latest trends and what people really want because they run a shop and deal with the customers first-hand. Factory designers are usually cooped up in a small office for months on end.
But for us, the biggest argument in favor of going aftermarket for our car accessories needs rather than sticking with factory options has nothing to do with technicalities. We go aftermarket simply because those guys deserve the business more. Car makers are huge, greedy conglomerates with an insatiable thirst for money. Whereas aftermarket shops are often family businesses, or the result of a single guy’s toil over many, many years. We’d rather help Joey Two Wrench down the block make this month’s rent than contribute to Mopar’s growing wealth!