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    • Do you care if parts are replicas or original? AC-Schnitzer is actively going after knock-offs

      For our new poll, we want to ask you, do you care if parts are copied? AC-Schnitzer recently had the German government seize and destroy a large cache of replica parts. They claimed the parts were not safe and had the parts seized and destroyed to protect consumers. Is this really as much a concern about safety as it is a concern for the bottom line? I run a replica carbon Hamann lip on my E92 M3. It costs 1/10 the actual price of the real Hamann lip. Why would I pay retail for a name brand on a part that is likely to be worn down or cracked necessitating replacement?

      AC-Schnitzer says the copied wheels they seized were not as safe as their own wheels. This is likely correct, as the copied wheels failed TUEV testing. Do all replicas fail testing? How many CSL replica wheels are there out there? How many BBS replicas do we see that meet testing standards? The quality of the product matters in replica designs just as much as the real thing. Installers of my Hamann lip claimed the piece was actually better constructed than the real thing. How about that?

      AC-Schnitzer is using the example with the cheap knock-off wheels and applying it a whole. Is a replica AC spoiler a safety hazard? How about a replica AC-Schnitzer interior piece? Clearly one needs to be careful when buying a replica and for wheels we would obviously recommend the real thing. However, for cosmetic pieces we gladly advocate replicas especially since it is often that the replica is higher quality for less money.

      What this is really about is AC-Schnitzer wanting to protect their profits. We are happy there are companies like AC-Schnitzer producing parts but their margins are clearly way too high if they allow for a plethora of cheaper alternatives. We feel this is what it is really about:

      It is all about the bottom line, not your safety. Should an Ericsson carbon hood really cost 7,000 dollars? If it was not for replicas these manufacturers would fleece enthusiasts of every dollar they possibly could. Replica manufacturers serve a necessary evil. At the same time, we need these manufacturers to get the return they deserve for putting in the development. What are your thoughts? Is AC-Schnitzer justified? Why or why not?







      This article was originally published in forum thread: Do you care if parts are replicas or original? AC-Schnitzer is actively going after knock-offs started by Sticky View original post
      Comments 34 Comments
      1. Sorena's Avatar
        Sorena -
        i agree with you , but you answered your question before
        We are happy there are companies like AC-Schnitzer producing parts
        if everyone get repilca parts will AC-Schnitzer or Hamann remain? No and instead of Hamann parts you will get Jiung Young parts !what's the difference between Jioung Young Pong lip and Hamann lip? nothing but what about rims? or tires ? or brakes?
        can you trust Young Koang Tesoang?
      1. Nate@IND's Avatar
        Nate@IND -
        I personally think ACS should ignore the replicas and focus on improving the brand. Remember ACS back in the E36's days?
      1. M3_WC's Avatar
        M3_WC -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Nate@IND Click here to enlarge
        I personally think ACS should ignore the replicas and focus on improving the brand. Remember ACS back in the E36's days?
        I was going to say the exact same thing. My memories of ACS are from the 90's. The parts for the e36 M3 were amazing, I especially remember their huge carbon fiber front strut brace.

        Now their parts are just hideous. It is a real shame.
      1. hworang00's Avatar
        hworang00 -
        I wouldn't mind the replicas, but mainly for me it's because the actual pieces from AC-S are ridiculously expensive...Like when I can buy the replica for about 1200 bucks but the actual kit costs 6000...that's ridiculous...I think...I might just be cheap though >_< haha
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by HeroSina Click here to enlarge
        if everyone get repilca parts will AC-Schnitzer or Hamann remain? No and instead of Hamann parts you will get Jiung Young parts !what's the difference between Jioung Young Pong lip and Hamann lip? nothing but what about rims? or tires ? or brakes?
        can you trust Young Koang Tesoang?
        Didn't really answer my own question as my belief is that there should be a balance. Replica's will always exist, and they should exist. Hamann and AC-Schnitzer might need to stop focusing so much on spoilers and wheels and get to some serious tuning business.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by hworang00 Click here to enlarge
        I wouldn't mind the replicas, but mainly for me it's because the actual pieces from AC-S are ridiculously expensive...Like when I can buy the replica for about 1200 bucks but the actual kit costs 6000...that's ridiculous...I think...I might just be cheap though >_< haha
        No, you aren't cheap, it is smart. Over in Europe the name brand of "AC-Schnitzer" and "Hamann" mean a lot more than they seem to here.
      1. e92's Avatar
        e92 -
        who cares as long as it's nearly the same? Claus Ettensburger gets enough money even with the knock-off market being stronger than ever.
      1. Brey335i's Avatar
        Brey335i -
        I don't know who would want to copy the ACS parts anyways. IMHO they pretty much all look like $#@!
      1. MHP LLC's Avatar
        MHP LLC -
        Knock off companies are scum that don't have the talent to design, produce and test their own products. Consumers enjoy the lower pricing, however due to loss of sales and revenue (return on investment) from the copycats, the original manufacturers are less likely to produce additional parts for future models. So while consumers think they're getting ahead now they are simply screwing themselves in the future.

        I congratulate ACS and wish them the best of luck in keeping their hard work their own.
      1. e92's Avatar
        e92 -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by MHP LLC Click here to enlarge
        Knock off companies are scum that don't have the talent to design, produce and test their own products. Consumers enjoy the lower pricing, however due to loss of sales and revenue (return on investment) from the copycats, the original manufacturers are less likely to produce additional parts for future models. So while consumers think they're getting ahead now they are simply screwing themselves in the future.

        I congratulate ACS and wish them the best of luck in keeping their hard work their own.
        I think that that should keep them pushing quality products for a more reasonable price.

        edit; them as in BOTH
      1. spdu4ea's Avatar
        spdu4ea -
        I am against straight up copies (unless the original company no longer makes them). If a part is too expensive, don't buy it... If there is enough of a market for lower priced alternatives (not copies), someone will step up.

        It's somewhat of a personal issue for me; after working in the Japanese aftermarket and seeing plenty of crap passed for quality, I returned to college and became an engineer. By the time I graduated it was clear to me that thanks to china & ebay, the legitimate aftermarket was an industry in decline -- even for upmarket marques whose owners historically appreciated quality. Why put my all into something, get paid a substandard salary, and then face the insult of seeing my designs copied by people who don't understand and used flippantly by people who don't appreciate them?
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by spdu4ea Click here to enlarge
        I am against straight up copies (unless the original company no longer makes them). If a part is too expensive, don't buy it... If there is enough of a market for lower priced alternatives (not copies), someone will step up.
        So you are telling I should not buy a carbon lip that goes on the bottom of my car for around 200 bucks vs. $1500+ just because it is a copy? How does that make any sense, I should pay $1500 each time it cracks? What is the original is lower quality?
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by MHP LLC Click here to enlarge
        Knock off companies are scum that don't have the talent to design, produce and test their own products. Consumers enjoy the lower pricing, however due to loss of sales and revenue (return on investment) from the copycats, the original manufacturers are less likely to produce additional parts for future models. So while consumers think they're getting ahead now they are simply screwing themselves in the future.

        I congratulate ACS and wish them the best of luck in keeping their hard work their own.
        This is the issue, original equipment makers lose money.

        This is the danger of the business though, when making body pieces you will run into this problem. I hardly think this is an issue with say heads, cams, pistons, forced induction, diffs, etc.

        If they want to focus on aero parts and milking people on overpriced plastic they have to be prepared to deal with what comes with it.

        The argument about consumers screwing themselves is the same thing recording companies used to say, music never slowed down, they had to innovate and evolve their business model.
      1. spdu4ea's Avatar
        spdu4ea -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        So you are telling I should not buy a carbon lip that goes on the bottom of my car for around 200 bucks vs. $1500+ just because it is a copy? How does that make any sense, I should pay $1500 each time it cracks? What is the original is lower quality?
        If it truly is just an inexpensive carbon lip you (& others) are after, why can't the copycat make their own? Why do you want to buy a copy?

        What if the original lip was developed after hours of CFD analysis, wind tunnel testing, and finally real-world testing? Perhaps they found a certain curvature that increased downforce or maybe they found a specific location for additional vents that had minimal impact on drag -- things for which people looking for the best might be willing to pay.

        A knock-off company with some vaguely familiar-sounded name with "racing" at the end decides to buy one, then make a mold directly off the part, and then sell replicas for a fraction of the price (their only development cost is the price of the original part and some fiberglass/resin). Does that seem fair? If all you want is a cheap asthetic lip, why don't they just spend the extra couple G's to make their own?
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by spdu4ea Click here to enlarge
        If it truly is just an inexpensive carbon lip you (& others) are after, why can't the copycat make their own? Why do you want to buy a copy?
        Some do make their own and there are plenty to choose from but I buy the one that I like the best.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by spdu4ea Click here to enlarge
        What if the original lip was developed after hours of CFD analysis, wind tunnel testing, and finally real-world testing? Perhaps they found a certain curvature that increased downforce or maybe they found a specific location for additional vents that had minimal impact on drag -- things for which people looking for the best might be willing to pay.
        Why if they did? What if they didn't? Most of the parts are just for looks, rarely do I ever seen wind tunnel figures released or how it actually affects your downforce. The M3 GTS lip for $4k would be one where I would agree with you.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by spdu4ea Click here to enlarge
        A knock-off company with some vaguely familiar-sounded name with "racing" at the end decides to buy one, then make a mold directly off the part, and then sell replicas for a fraction of the price (their only development cost is the price of the original part and some fiberglass/resin). Does that seem fair? If all you want is a cheap asthetic lip, why don't they just spend the extra couple G's to make their own?
        Yes it is fair. Is it fair for a company to mark up their price just because the same Chinese factory making both stamps "Hamann" on one and nothing on the other? Sure is fair, and that is how it works. I'm not going to pay $4k for a lip or $1500 for that matter, they would have the same small market if the knock-off's didn't exist.
      1. MHP LLC's Avatar
        MHP LLC -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        This is the issue, original equipment makers lose money.

        This is the danger of the business though, when making body pieces you will run into this problem. I hardly think this is an issue with say heads, cams, pistons, forced induction, diffs, etc.

        If they want to focus on aero parts and milking people on overpriced plastic they have to be prepared to deal with what comes with it.

        The argument about consumers screwing themselves is the same thing recording companies used to say, music never slowed down, they had to innovate and evolve their business model.
        Someone is trying to knock our C63 headers off right now and the same has been true of our software for years. Theft is theft. Those who steal can't do it themselves. Without originals they're $#@!ed too.

        I don't remember that specific argument (reg the music industry) would you mind filling me in on that?

        As far as I remember (and I didn't follow it that closely so I could be wrong) they did very much the same thing as the film industry which was to crackdown on copycats legally first.

        I think it's the right first step for AC and hopefully more and more tuners.


        Thanks
      1. MHP LLC's Avatar
        MHP LLC -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by e92 Click here to enlarge
        I think that that should keep them pushing quality products for a more reasonable price.

        edit; them as in BOTH
        Copycats aren't innovators, they don't design or create anything, they just copy existing products.

        Obviously I feel a lot of the aftermarket is overpriced as well, however there are some products that are worth the $ and there is a reason they cost more. Quality still exists, it's just harder and harder to find these days due to all the lowlife's out there.
      1. spdu4ea's Avatar
        spdu4ea -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        Why if they did? What if they didn't? Most of the parts are just for looks, rarely do I ever seen wind tunnel figures released or how it actually affects your downforce.
        Because there is some value to that intellectual property.

        Here is a very real example: I can make a 335i exhaust that would outflow everything on the market and be nearly as quiet as stock. It would probably take me a solid 120 hours ($12000) to hammer out the complete design. Due to some unique features and low # production, each exhaust (turbos to tip) would cost me $750 in materials and 20 hours of skilled labor ($1000). I could set "MSRP" at $3000 and sell at $2500/ea -- especially after purchasing the top of the line competition ($3000) and showing a ~7hp gain over them despite the 20db difference ($350 dyno time, $100 db meter). ~$18,000 cost (not including car & time spent testing durability)

        I could probably sell 10 on the initial run -- no small feat considering existing full exhausts from china can probably be had for 1/3 the price. Unfortunately, I'd be extraordinarily lucky if someone didn't send one of my exhausts to china where they can use subpar materials ($300) and unskilled labor ($100) and sell replicas for less than my own cost to make. I'd then have to try and convince at least another 15 people to pay $1500 more for the original product with the only difference being the less tangible superior materials & quality to convince them. If so, I could break even (and that is "breaking even" when not even including the additional time it took to take orders, deal with suppliers, package/ship, explain $#@! to "pipe is a pipe" jugheads on forums, etc)..


        they would have the same small market if the knock-off's didn't exist.
        You really believe that everyone willing to buy the original will still pay full price when presented with a functionally equivalent lesser priced option?
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by MHP LLC Click here to enlarge
        I don't remember that specific argument (reg the music industry) would you mind filling me in on that?
        Just the idea that if people download music we won't have innovation in that sector since artists won't get as much money. It proved to be false.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by MHP LLC Click here to enlarge
        Someone is trying to knock our C63 headers off right now and the same has been true of our software for years. Theft is theft. Those who steal can't do it themselves. Without originals they're $#@!ed too.
        I agree with you and yes, that sucks that the headers are being ripped off. But what can you really do about it? What about imitation pieces that are close to the real thing but different enough to not be copies? You see how it becomes complicated. This happens in the wheel industry with CSL "style" rims or BBS LM "style" wheels. Imitation is going to take place when anyone sees an opportunity for a quick buck. I just do not see how this will ever stop in any industry.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by MHP LLC Click here to enlarge
        I think it's the right first step for AC and hopefully more and more tuners.
        I think AC Schnitzer should put more time in making quality products rather than being bitter about something they can't stop. The Chinese will make tons of copied parts, not like they can do anything about that.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by spdu4ea Click here to enlarge
        I could probably sell 10 on the initial run -- no small feat considering existing full exhausts from china can probably be had for 1/3 the price. Unfortunately, I'd be extraordinarily lucky if someone didn't send one of my exhausts to china where they can use subpar materials ($300) and unskilled labor ($100) and sell replicas for less than my own cost to make. I'd then have to try and convince at least another 15 people to pay $1500 more for the original product with the only difference being the less tangible superior materials & quality to convince them. If so, I could break even (and that is "breaking even" when not even including the additional time it took to take orders, deal with suppliers, package/ship, explain $#@! to "pipe is a pipe" jugheads on forums, etc)..
        Exactly, and this is the reason why Vorsteiner takes the pro-active approach of installing their M3 widebody kit at their facility so that they do not send the panels to someone who will just copy them. Still, what is to stop someone from getting that done at their facility and then creating their own molds? There is no way to stop it as long as there is a market for it. At least in the United States and Germany companies are protected and can go after people who are selling blatant copies. You have no control over Taiwan, China, Korea, Mexico, etc.

        Plus, parts that are similar in style are legal and do have their market. Plenty of people build Ericsson look alike stuff that is just as good if not better quality but not the exact same thing. So, this aspect will always remain, yet again.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by spdu4ea Click here to enlarge
        You really believe that everyone willing to buy the original will still pay full price when presented with a functionally equivalent lesser priced option?
        I believe that price is ultimately the deciding factor and if copies didn't exist that would not force me to pay full price. I want the Ericsson carbon hood, there is no copy of it, that does not mean I will pay full price ($7k) just because a copy doesn't exist.