the below email has been fowarded to me the other day. such passion in the automotive industry. havent seen many of these customers lately. where have they been? all the kids hobby are now into some what more digital. not much sport fanatics nor car enthusiasts. people staying home wii–ing and XBox360-ing with the PS3 hooked onto their bigazz HDTV their parents bought JUST for playing games. and they grow up. no love for the automobile industry… 😦 specially the aftermarkets. we need more people like this person who wrote the email that really loves car.
From: ******* [mailto:*****@****.com]
Sent: Friday, January 09, 2009 7:10 AM
Subject: Sharing Your Passion…And Frustration
Good Morning *****,
I’m a die-hard automotive enthusiast. Because of this, I don’t see my career as anything but a hobby that someone pays me to do. I’m truly fortunate to have received the opportunity to be involved in the aftermarket industry. I can appreciate the taste of other auto aficionados like yourself that discriminate against everything but the best parts for the world’s best cars. Although I deal with Ferrari and Porsche all day long, I have a special place in my heart for the JDM scene (I currently own a 2005 AP2, my favorite year because it was the last model year before they switched to drive-by-wire and brake assist). One of my biggest pet peeves is a company that makes low-quality replicas. I have to deal with this constantly because two of the brands I represent, AC Schnitzer and TechArt, are constantly knocked-off (horribly at that). Because of this, it degrades the public’s thought of the aftermarket industry and makes it harder for the companies that put countless hours of R&D and quality control into their lines. As you know, this increases costs and makes it even harder to sell when they compete against young, start-up replica companies who offer copy cats of my products at less than have the cost. Of course, to the people who care about the finished product, cost isn’t as much of an issue as fit and finish and they can appreciate the efforts we make. Unfortunately, those people are few and far between. Most “say” they care how parts fit, but their bottom line is how light their pocket is after the work is done. I can understand the bottom line, but I’ve always said if you can’t afford to do it right, you shouldn’t do it at all. Before I continue to ramble on about the industry I love and fight to protect on a daily basis, I will cut to the chase. One of the biggest perpetrators out their is Seibon. They continue to surprise me with what they’re willing to rip off (at this point, I shouldn’t be surprised). It aggravates me because they get way more press than they’ve ever deserved and most people just don’t seem to care if their horribly-fitting, carbon-laid hood is taking money out of the original designer’s pocket. It’s almost as if this low-level fitment is considered “acceptable” because they’re so many companies who disregard it or just can’t plain get it right. Then, in the most shocking news I’ve received in a long time, I stumble across this article on gtrblog.com:
It’s an article about the HKS Kansai GT-R that will be displayed at TAS. At this point, you probably already know about it. But I was shocked to see that a company like HKS was equipping they’re Godzilla with ***** carbon fiber parts. I could never imagine a Japanese-based icon like HKS, whose car is fitted with parts from companies like Project Mu, Recaro and Takata, share a build list with a fake like *****. I don’t care if all of a sudden started to produce the purest carbon with the best fit and finish on their own original designs. I could never support a company they made their money knocking off other companies. It has me wondering: If HKS is willing to use their parts, what does that mean for the rest of the industry? Are economic times so bad that innovators in our industry are turning to low-budget manufactures to produce demo cars on tighter budgets? I know you’re going to be crazy busy with TAS going on. When you get the opportunity, I’d like to hear your thoughts regarding the sacrilegious event. I’m a daily reader on your blog and I appreciate your thoughts on our industry. I may not always agree with your views (very rarely), but I respect your point of view and effort. We need more people out there to put the bottom line on the back burner and focus on quality. It may not be the easiest approach, but it’s best for a long-term run in our industry. I await your response.