March '19

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32 THE SHOP MARCH 2019 The reasons why could include that the cost is just not competitive with non-fac- tory parts or because they can't possibly produce nearly as many types of accessories as the public demands. It may be that they are content with a piece of the pie and are more worried about losing market share of actual vehicle sales than accessory sales. Regardless, the OEMs struggle and have always struggled to keep up with the fast- moving, ever-changing accessory world that we know and love. This, in my opinion, is another reason why we see these scare letters. The manu- facturers want a bigger piece of the acces- sory profits and if they can scare dealers and consumers into buying only their parts and accessories, then they win. Solution: Competition is what makes businesses thrive and we all know how large the accessory market is, so there is bound to be a lot of competition. One solution that the OEMs don't make public is that to meet the demands for dif- ferent accessories they team up with after- market manufacturers to widen their offer- ings while stamping their names on the boxes and raising prices. Obviously there may be some small tweaks or changes to make sure these products meet their stan- dards; however, at the end of the day, are they really that much different or better? Thus, if we are able to offer something very similar, if not exactly the same, through our dealerships at a reduced rate, why wouldn't smart consumers take advantage of that? By providing more and different accessories that give consumers more and better options, the aftermarket will remain the leader, with the OEMs playing catch-up. RELATIONSHIPS Issue: It's no secret that the OE manufacturers have a love/hate rela- tionship with their dealerships around the country and the world. Many OEMs believe that dealers don't do enough to represent their products, that they take advantage of consumers wanting a new vehicle and that they don't take care of the consumer after the sale. All of these factors and more are reasons why manu- facturers try to force dealers to take certain paths, potentially costing dealers a lot of money if they don't conform. It could be the consumer surveys that manufacturers expect to be near perfec- tion, or it could be a warning to the deal- erships saying they can't make money on certain products because those products are not approved. Either way, it's easy to see how these relationships can become strained. These cat-and-mouse games affect profits, inventory levels, future expansion and overall cooperation. Solution: At the end of the day, the manufacturers are not the legal entity that governs the laws of the land. There are federal laws in place to deny overbearing manufacturers the ability to dictate everything they sell and how it is to be used or not used. In our industry, the Magnuson-Moss Act of 1975 is a longstanding law that prevents vehicle manufacturers from denying or can- celing a warranty on one of their vehicles because of a third-party part or accessory that was installed on the vehicle. Of course, the manufacturer can deny the warranty if the issue is proven to have been caused by the third-party part or accessory. In that case, the third-party manufacturer or installer would be liable for the issue. We all know this, and the OE manufac- turers know it as well—that's why, instead of telling their dealers they can't do something, instead they recommend that they don't. It takes due diligence by our industry to educate our dealers and customers, so that Manufacturer "scare letters" arrive at new car dealerships from time to time, recommending that dealers refrain from adding aftermarket accessories to new vehicles at the time of sale. The Magnuson- Moss Warranty Act protects the aftermarket by not allowing manufacturers to dictate what can or can't be installed on their vehicles. 'SCARE LETTERS'

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