Genuine, Pirate and Aftermarket


Recently I was asked, ”Why do my brake pads cost 500 bucks at the dealer and 70 odd at my local Brake specialist?”

Before I give you an Answer I want to elaborate that you get the following parts:

Pirate parts where you have no idea where they come from Quality etc. (only price)- I won’t discuss these.

Aftermarket means a Bona Fide Manufacturer or Distributor that Back’s his product.

Genuine OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) factory Guaranteed parts.


Generally prices at the dealer are more expensive because:

The Automotive Company sets certain specifications to their OEM supplier, which the Aftermarket shops might not specify.

The OEM checks these specifications before they get delivered (often a step not necessary with the Aftermarket). What can happen though, if the parts fail this initial inspection on a non-critical dimension, it can be passed onto the Aftermarket at a far cheaper price (why junk something that you can still sell).

The Vehicle manufacturer generally re-checks parts supplied from the outside (seldom done on the Aftermarket), quality control costs money.

Sadly though quite often the genuine parts become a lot more expensive than Aftermarket, because their purchasing and distribution sucks (as is evidenced by when you grow old waiting for a part at your dealer, compared to your friendly spares shop).


Generally you “get what you pay for” and just because parts get made by the same factory does not mean they are the same. Knowledgeable spares outlets know how to pick excellent Aftermarket products at a good price- so often it is worth going for those. Remember one thing though; you have to become the quality control then. Recently I have imported cylinder heads at bargain prices, that outlast the OEM units (Diesel heads that cracked between the valves and precombustion chamber).


In my trade I often find that genuine parts spec. out better than “Quality Aftermarket”. It is also important to recognise the “Performance Spares”, generally they price more than the OEM part. These are improvements over factory parts, done by specialists.  Again Warranty is also very important, since a dealer will often back his OEM product a long way when he fits it, compared to a Spares outlet that sells their Spares over the counter. Although some specialised Companies like K&N will back their product far longer than the OEM.


Sometimes it happens that a vehicle has its K&N Filter washed in petrol and then the Dealer servicing the car applies ATF on it. Under the Bonnet there should be a K&N sticker explicitly warning against doing so. There are only 3 answers for such behaviour, either the Service personnel can’t read- please help us! Or they know more than K&N, which probably also means they know more than the service Bulletins or they don’t care-, which I believe, is the most likely. Look at the turnaround in manpower these workshops experience- how is their staff supposed to get experience, if they are continually moving on? It’s a log drawn out calculation, but if you pay a workshop 150 bucks an hour Labour- that has to pay the Workshop overheads, plus workshop profit plus the Mechanics labour. So you are not impressed? Well ask what the newfangled diagnostics machine costs and then you know why less than N$ 25 remains for the poor mechanic’s hour, and as you know by my previous ranting I consider today’s mechanics specialists. The system is at fault here; we have to pay for European products at European prices but get paid peanuts (resulting in Monkeys work).


Also beware of the “Authorised Dealer”. Since I have been in business in Namibia (93), quite a few people have falsely “smoused” K&N Filters under the banner of Authorised dealers. We are the sole importers and distributors for this region and we appoint our dealers as we see fit. The only person who can suffer from buying from these grey dealers is the customer. So please before you buy a product that you suspect grey- ask your authorised dealer for a price and warranty. I must say I have been guilty of same by once importing Competition ready Honda XR 600 R’s, but luckily I soon realised that I was making nobody happy in the long run.


Every day us Shop owners are bombarded with new (and sometimes old) “Business opportunities”.  Sometimes these are offered as “sole agency’s”, which means that “you the shop owner are the only one selling them from your premises”- no joke I sold Fridge Mate portable fridge’s as a sole agent and so did another large South African fridge manufacturer. Or they are agencies based on volume discounts, these I like as the discount is linked to your “prestasie”. But often they are measured towards overseas markets, such as HTP spray paint that had its discount structure given by the 40-ft. container. Do you think I can sell 10 Containers of very expensive (but also very good) 400-Ml spray cans per year in Namibia?

The new player in town is called a Franchise, which means “you pay me 300 000 Bucks so you can fly my Name (yes it is registered). Then you have to buy all parts from me (at a special discount of course), but you are still responsible.” It’s more complicated than that, but I must say whoever thought this up must have had a cunning mind.


I had a problem recently with a customer wanting to buy a core exchange engine from me. And in the end he tried beating me down on price in a rather unimaginative way. Sorry I have no respect for somebody like that and I then reneged from the deal. He then tried telling me “maar jy kry mos nou my cheque”, which means he has not understood what it is all about. I am proud of my work and I will not do “anything” for money. I believe that from the start of negotiations until the customer’s engine retires from old age- he should be happy with my workmanship and me.


So to cap it of, I believe that an agent can only be happy if he makes his customers happy. So if you are a customer, do us Agents a favour and tell us whether you are happy or not with the quality of the product and service.  Improvement comes from criticism. If you are unhappy with the price, remember, “You gets what you pays for”. The only time you should moan about the price, is when you can get an IDENTICAL product or service somewhere else cheaper (it will help us improve our souring and pricing).