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Old 31st July 2008, 13:06   #1
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Default Grey market spares

We all love the German cars and the Skodas. They're built like tanks, handle like on rails and the fast engines last almost a lifetime. What else can a petrol head ask for? But, it is the unnecessarily high spares cost and maintenance at the A.S.S that takes them off our list.

The only way it could be affordable for us less fortunate enthusiasts is
1. A knowledgeable independent service centre
2. Spares in the open market

The first point is pretty much taken care of in the major cities.
It is the second point that is to be discussed here.

a) How is the availability of the spares for these vehicles in the open market.?
Here, the word 'spares' refer to every single part of the vehicle. Not just the consumables like air/oil/fuel filters, clutch plates, etc.
For eg. Can I buy an injector seat for the Skoda RS off-the-shelf?
or could I get the instrument panel for a Merc/BMW?

b)Importantly, are they OE?
We wouldn't want "compatible" stuff.

c)how are the prices compared to the A.S.S?

d)Who are the major players in the country? How reliable are they?

This thread could make or break a person's decision of going in for a german car in our country.
Note :This thread pertains to german car spares only.

Last edited by nitrous : 31st July 2008 at 13:22.
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Old 31st July 2008, 13:18   #2
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For the spares, IMO, if you buy spares that are released by the OE supplier/ manufacturer in the open market, there is nothing to worry about.

Now what all spares will be available outside the A.S.S will depend upon their demand and any contracts which bind them not to.

The prices compared to A.S.S should be 20-30% less.

Last edited by dadu : 31st July 2008 at 13:19.
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Old 31st July 2008, 13:23   #3
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Unfortunately I have yet to find an independent service center whom i can trust with German electronics or engine related work.

I have a very competent garage chap who often handles my Japanese cars but even he himself isn't comfortable handling higher end German cars.

Finding spares is not easy for such cars in the open market and when you do find it the price difference ain't much either, besides the fact that you never know if it's genuine.

Moreover its skilled labor that is the biggest road block here, German car makers in most cases train their service engineers very well. Hence the expertise they have is almost impossible to find outside.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dadu View Post
For the spares, IMO, if you buy spares that are released by the OE supplier/ manufacturer in the open market, there is nothing to worry about.
Where would you find OEM parts in India? Most German cars are CKDs and majority of the parts are imported and assembled here.

So the only solution here is to find OEM parts abroad and get them to India. This is the cheapest way out.

Last edited by Sahil : 31st July 2008 at 13:29.
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Old 31st July 2008, 15:03   #4
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In India consumer rights are still in their infancy. So manufacturers esp of cars which are rarer, create conditions by which getting a genuine spare in the outside market is very very difficult.
Manufacturer sells spares only to the dealers and the MRP is usually 2-3X the cost price.

That said many parts like Alternators etc., which are made by Bosch etc., are available. Now the question of originality? Well buy from a Bosch dealer/distributor.


Then there are parts like wheelcaps etc., which you shouldn't really care about originality.
Last but not the least, do not buy a car based on just the cost of car. Find out service and commonly used spare prices, and only then see whether you can afford to maintain the car.

But remember you cannot go outside when your car is under warranty.
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Old 31st July 2008, 15:32   #5
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Well the parts like rim caps, etc are availale in the open market and they do cost less. But here the question is Warranty.

As we know already the Indian customers are taken for granted. This thread is the proof of it. We are charged excessively plus the dealers are not very co-operative. So a part fitted from outside = void warranty.

I remember one instance where one Skoda Octavia owner. The alternator in his car needed replacement. Here he went to Bosch and the cost was quite less. He approached the dealer and told that he will bring in the part. They have to just fit in that part and charge labour. The dealership did not agree. The owner was ready to take the responsibility in written, but still this was not allowed.

If we take outside parts, the dealer wont fit, and if we fit in parts from outside, the warranty goes void.

However, its also reliable to depend on dealer for critical parts. And till the car is warranty, one has to pay heaviely.

The conclusion: For some parts we have to rely on authorized dealers. But for others, we cant fit in car till the warranty exists.
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Old 31st July 2008, 15:33   #6
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Are we restricting this thread to cars that were sold in India (BTW, Skoda is Czech)? I'm keen on the MB E250D W124 and currently tracking a couple of threads...
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Old 31st July 2008, 15:38   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AirWind View Post
(BTW, Skoda is Czech)?
Yes the company is Czech but, VW took over Skoda in 1991.
And right now all its cars are based on VW platforms. Felica was the first car to benefit of the take over.
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Old 31st July 2008, 17:59   #8
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Sahil has brought up the issue of competent service mechs. While that is another part of the problem, the remaining part which is spares is what I've brought up.
Tanveer, you're right about the problem. But, we're looking at finding a solution for it.

For eg. today, The Octi RS is an enthusiast's dream and a practical guy's nightmare. People use it "sparingly" since it guzzles and the spares/maintenance is almost in the league of a 30 lakh rupee car. A decent,used RS can be found for half its original price.So,its apparent that it depreciates like crazy.
If the spares of the RS can be found in the grey market, and the supply is steady,without the need to rely on the A.S.S., the ridiculously priced spares would now be priced at reasonable rates.And a competent mech can do the job . This would simply make the ownership easy and more enthusiasts will find it easy to own.
We could also take up the case of a 12 year old W126 Merc or a 15 year old BMW 325i coupe.
These cars today cost around 5 lakhs .They're built to last more than twice the lifetime of a swift that costs as much (albeit new). It is the maintenance part.

How is the grey market spare supply for these great cars?
Can someone name a few dealers ,so that it would make it easy for members around the country ?
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Old 31st July 2008, 18:04   #9
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nitrous, grey market is volume market. Unless there is demand they won't stock a part.
Case in point, the Indica Glow plug timer. The timer in my car went Kaput, and all I could find was the "local" one which cost 200rs. The electrician was adamant that I procure the original one only. Finally after hunting in 5 shops I found the Tata original, cost 1700rs!
Shops do not carry that since there is no demand. The part is supposed to last a good 5-6 year before going Kaput, so there are not too many people who come looking for it, and those who come are mostly Taxi guys who fit the 200rs one.

Same problem with Skoda parts
the alternator costs 55000rs(approx)
The same alternator is 18000rs from Bosch. When alternators of other cars are 8-10K(Lucas TVS) this is still expensive, but for a 14L car its okay.
But how many RS owners will hit the grey market looking for a 18K alternator.

Now think of a part which is "Skoda" or non-local OEM supplier. First of all procuring that from Czech will not make sense because it will be expensive if you don't get a bulk shipment. If you get a bulk shipment, the inventry will rot. No distributor is going to do it unless he knows there is going to be demand.
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Old 31st July 2008, 18:29   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nitrous View Post
If the spares of the RS can be found in the grey market, and the supply is steady,without the need to rely on the A.S.S., the ridiculously priced spares would now be priced at reasonable rates.And a competent mech can do the job . This would simply make the ownership easy and more enthusiasts will find it easy to own.
If that was the case, would you be able to get one for 5L ?

I doubt if these are available like this even in countries like singapore & Hong Kong.
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Old 31st July 2008, 19:11   #11
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Its not the grey market spares that I have a problem with. Several places to get 100% original parts. Heck, even for hard to find parts, you could order over the internet. The world's a much smaller place than it used to be.

The real issue is :

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sahil View Post
Unfortunately I have yet to find an independent service center whom i can trust with German electronics or engine related work.
Well said, Sahil. I simply don't trust an aftermarket vendor with an engine / suspension / mechanical job for the Benz. If I owned a W124, I would not have a problem giving it to a reputed Merc specialist from the aftermarket. But if someone spends 30 lakhs on a C, 50 lakhs on an E or 70 lakhs on an S, you wont think twice before paying 10 - 20 grand extra for peace of the mind. Trust me, Nitrous. The Mercedes & BMW service experience absolutely rocks; level of knowledge, training, courtesy...these guys really know how to take care of you.

I am a believer in the trust & quality that comes with authorised service stations. My Benz visits only Auto Hangar, my Vtec - Linkway Honda, my Indigo - Shaman Tata and my Jeep - Mahindra Milestone. Of course, for mods / accessories etc. I have no option but to look at the unorganised segment. But regular service / repair work means only the authorised service station.

Yes, this is dependent on whether you have access to a good authorised service center in your vicinity. As an example, for a brand like Skoda and its horrible aftersales, I would find someone competent in the aftermarket. Before I even think of buying the car.
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Old 1st August 2008, 11:20   #12
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I had a Opel Astry some years back and needed the Brake disc kit the cost for it was abt 13.5k at the GM Service and i got it for 4k from the grey market from Opera house Mumbai.
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Old 1st August 2008, 11:40   #13
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Guys,

To start with lets get the terminology right. There is no grey but aftermarket parts which are both officially & unofficially imported. Now coming to the issue of repairs/service at non A.S.S. of german cars.

1> You save a lot on labour which is bloody expensive at the dealerships. Its not that competent people are not there but you need to know who to go to. Most of the reputed after market garages are owned/run by ex senior service centre guys who know their job well.

2> Spares - Depending on the car/model the spares in the aftermarket are anything between 50-100% cheaper. You do get OE parts/ reputed replacement brands accepted internationally and of course the taiwan stuff. Again source and having a knowledge on which brands to buy is the key factor.

For someone who does not know anything and does not easily trust its better they go to a service centre and pay the big bucks. Lets take the cons of doing the same.

1> Higher part costs
2> Higher labour
3> More time sometime days to wait for a part not in stock
4> No guarantee they do it right the 1st time and that you do not have to go back for a repeat job.

Everyone has their own good and bad experiences. I don't know how many people here are aware but I know for a fact that most of the reputed manufacturers go to an aftermarket garage/shop for repairs to electrical parts or for machining jobs(engine building, head work etc). to name a few manufacturers who do that in mumbai Mercedes. Audi, BMW, Skoda, Honda, Suzuki, Hyundai, Toyota etc.

At the end of the day its upto the individual. I would have no qualms in giving my 50-60lacs imported new gen car to a aftermarket garage as I know who to go to. For parts as well I can import directly and save big bucks.

Viper
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Old 1st August 2008, 16:57   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viper View Post
There is no grey but aftermarket parts which are both officially & unofficially imported.
Doesn't grey market by definition mean unofficial imports?

Quote:
2> Spares - Depending on the car/model the spares in the aftermarket are anything between 50-100% cheaper.
Free Just kidding.

Quote:
You do get OE parts/ reputed replacement brands accepted internationally and of course the taiwan stuff. Again source and having a knowledge on which brands to buy is the key factor.
Viper, could you share some contacts that you have sourced parts from, for your Benz'?

Quote:
Everyone has their own good and bad experiences. I don't know how many people here are aware but I know for a fact that most of the reputed manufacturers go to an aftermarket garage/shop for repairs to electrical parts or for machining jobs(engine building, head work etc). to name a few manufacturers who do that in mumbai Mercedes. Audi, BMW, Skoda, Honda, Suzuki, Hyundai, Toyota etc.
True. I have seen some company cars at Mazda Motors itself. But even then, it is the authorised workshop who is responsible for ensuring the quality of work.

Simply put, the considerations are:

1. At an authorised workshop, I am getting a specialist for my brand of premium car. Unlike a general workshop which also does Mercedes, alongwith BMW, Audi, Toyota, Honda etc. Long-timers at the authorised workshops really know their brand of cars inside out. Plus, these guys take such good care of you in the warranty period that you'd need a strong reason to go somewhere else after the coverage expires.

2. Accountability : At an authorised workshop, its not only the service center that is responsible for a good job. Even the manufacturer has his back dependent on it.

3. Security, peace of the mind etc. etc. Its not entirely money down the drain either. E.g. A 5 year old 525D that has been maintained exclusively at Infinity BMW, and will all service records in place, will fetch far better resale than one that has been maintained at Subhash Motors (hypothetical example).

Like I said earlier, I'd probably consider giving a 10 year old Benz / BMW to the after-market. Primary reason being that the cars value would have depreciated so much that the charges of an authorised workshop would work out to a substantial part of its market price. Case in point : A 4.5 lakh rupee W124. Few would really give that car for a 35,000 rupee service to Auto Hangar.

Last edited by GTO : 1st August 2008 at 17:03. Reason: Adding Point
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Old 1st August 2008, 17:22   #15
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Hey Rush,

Replies in bold.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Doesn't grey market by definition mean unofficial imports? My bad what I wanted to say was that they are all imported officially only some of them are majorly under invoiced. Am referring to the large players.




Free Just kidding. - hehehe you'll be surprised to find that some parts are charged more than double of what they are available in Opera House.



Viper, could you share some contacts that you have sourced parts from, for your Benz'? - Sure just let me know what you need and i'll point you in the right direction.



True. I have seen some company cars at Mazda Motors itself. But even then, it is the authorised workshop who is responsible for ensuring the quality of work. Mazda Motors(the best at that) is only a paint shop am referring to mechanical, electrical and engine related.

Simply put, the considerations are:

1. At an authorised workshop, I am getting a specialist for my brand of premium car. Unlike a general workshop which also does Mercedes, alongwith BMW, Audi, Toyota, Honda etc. Long-timers at the authorised workshops really know their brand of cars inside out. Plus, these guys take such good care of you in the warranty period that you'd need a strong reason to go somewhere else after the coverage expires. -Naah if I were to pay them for eg. Rs25k to tune my car and change filters when there is nothing to tune and do. Another eg. I had to do a brake overhaul at Concorde motors of my E220 they wanted to charge me 85k for a brake master cylinder and pads and wait 1 week as they had to supposedly order from germany. When i said I cant wait they ordered the same from Ajit Motors in Opera House and delivered my car. On investigation I found that the parts cost barely 30k they said they charged me as per company rates and they dont accept customer parts.

2. Accountability : At an authorised workshop, its not only the service center that is responsible for a good job. Even the manufacturer has his back dependent on it. You have had a major issue with your old C class and had to fight for almost a year + to get it sorted out and get a replacement. How many others are so lucky.

3. Security, peace of the mind etc. etc. Its not entirely money down the drain either. E.g. A 5 year old 525D that has been maintained exclusively at Infinity BMW, and will all service records in place, will fetch far better resale than one that has been maintained at Subhash Motors (hypothetical example). Once again not true. People are smarter nowadays.

Like I said earlier, I'd probably consider giving a 10 year old Benz / BMW to the after-market. Primary reason being that the cars value would have depreciated so much that the charges of an authorised workshop would work out to a substantial part of its market price. Case in point : A 4.5 lakh rupee W124. Few would really give that car for a 35,000 rupee service to Auto Hangar.
Exactly but nowadays all the new gen cars have suck expensive electronics it makes more sense to buy from the after market or import yourselves at far cheaper pricing. In any case electrical have no warranty whether you buy from the service centre or not.

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