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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. LostMarine's Avatar
        LostMarine -
        well, i like copies, but thats cause im cheap. (i do drive a 335 and not an M3 remember Click here to enlarge )

        But I think it depends on how you look at it. Are you asking as in a general yes/no. Then the answer is clear, knockoff companies are garbage and are stealing from the people that create the originals.

        but to ME, its a bit more difficult. it depends on each individual piece Im after, it also has to do with the specific company.

        If i want to buy a performance piece-hardware, lets say- DP/headers exhaust ect. ill go for the quality company as i know im getting what im paying for and they can assist if there are any problems. They did the work to make sure it does what its supposed to. it fits right, and it performs. Im only going to have to pay for it once.

        wheels, body pieces, im gonna get copies. Why? because it is WAY overpriced. besides that its not gonna last long, for the most part. wheels, are gonna chip, gonna bend, regardless of brand. front lip, its gonna get scratched/cracked.

        software? well, if they both do the same thing, im going with A. cheaper but B. customer support. and this isnt N54 specific. we can talk about the pro/jb conflict, we can talk about the PC/OE conflict, we can even go back to my Lightning days and JLP/JDM.

        so, basically, it depends on what im looking to buy.

        In the case of ACS, who gives a $#@!, its ugly Click here to enlarge
      1. MHP LLC's Avatar
        MHP LLC -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        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.
        Ok gotcha. I don't think that carries over into this specific genre of business however, the difference in scale or market and $ in this specific sector (European tuning) is far smaller than that of the music industry. There's more to go around so less financial stress on everyone.



        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.

        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.
        I wouldn't say they are getting bitter, merely that they are doing what they are allowed to do legally speaking about the situation, and again I commend them for taking such action. You're right, you can't stop or win them all however that doesn't mean you should lie down and take it when you have a chance to do something about it either.

        Stealing is stealing, if someone walks into your house and takes a painting off the wall and walks out with it you have every right to take it back.
      1. hworang00's Avatar
        hworang00 -
        I think the big difference is that the body kit doesn't really requires as much engineering and data as do the headers and exhaust and such. I think with exhaust and headers, paying extra isn't a big deal because you will stress these pieces and these pieces require a certain quality so you don't screw up your car/performance. But with a body kit, I don't believe many companies actually test or engineer these pieces to the extent of the cost that they ask. Most performance pieces, exhaust and headers, actually prove and show that they will improve performance, through data or charts or graphs or whatever. But I've never seen, so far, any charts or any kind of data for a body kit period that shows it will improve my car's performance. If it comes to actual performance or something detrimental to my car then of course I will pay the extra money to get what's best, but when it comes to cosmetic things, I don't believe that none of us will harness the "research" of a $6000 body kit (AC-S kit for the e60). I would like to see some stats on the differences between the actual name brand pieces and the knock off pieces (durability, weight, tolerances, etc.).

        Also, I refuse to believe that the knock offs are really hurting AC Schnitzers bottom line. Yeah they are losing money but I don't believe that they are actually losing enough to hurt anyone. Some people may not be as comfortable, but I don't think that people are losing jobs or going to the poor house because of it. I saw the chart above but the actual numbers mean nothing without parameters. I'd like to see what the actual losses per year are. I feel for the small companies but just because some companies have become established, they shouldn't have the right to demand such high prices. BUT that's their right, just as it's my right to look for a similar alternative...I'm sure there are people out there that will buy actual AC-S parts but...I'm too cheap and too poor so especially with imitators that make very similar if not the same pieces for cheaper...

        Just my 2 cents...


        Wow LM just said what I said, while I was typing it but posted it before I did haha... >_<
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by MHP LLC Click here to enlarge
        Ok gotcha. I don't think that carries over into this specific genre of business however, the difference in scale or market and $ in this specific sector (European tuning) is far smaller than that of the music industry. There's more to go around so less financial stress on everyone.
        It isn't apples to apples but just something to keep in mind.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by MHP LLC Click here to enlarge
        I wouldn't say they are getting bitter, merely that they are doing what they are allowed to do legally speaking about the situation, and again I commend them for taking such action. You're right, you can't stop or win them all however that doesn't mean you should lie down and take it when you have a chance to do something about it either.

        Stealing is stealing, if someone walks into your house and takes a painting off the wall and walks out with it you have every right to take it back.
        Absolutely true, but not all of it is stealing. Some of it is "inspiration" that is then modified. This happened with CSL parts and will happen with any other part. Blatant rip offs should be punished if they can be and sure, fight whatever battles that can be won in this regard. At the same time, I think there are some aspects where there is a necessary evil served here to keep market prices somewhat in check.

        I'm all for paying for quality by the way, I'm just not all for getting taken advantage of.
      1. Remonster's Avatar
        Remonster -
        I wouldn't waste my money on cosmetic mods anyways, the only time I'd buy a splitter is if I needed one to add downforce and then I'd buy one that has proven to do exactly that.

        When it comes to performance parts, like MHP's headers, I would definitely shell out the cash for a quality part that has been proven to hold up to the stress of daily driving a car for tens of thousands of miles and to actually do whatever it is the company is claiming it will do for me. I'm not interested in cheap Ebay headers that will crack in a few months and I would hope most people would agree.

        If you drive a Civic then knock yourself out with the $#@!ty knock off performance parts, you can probably buy a $#@!ty knock off of a Civic when yours blows up and you wouldn't even notice the difference.
      1. Yukohama's Avatar
        Yukohama -
        for engine and go fast parts i would never buy copy parts... since it has far more potential to $#@! up my engine... but say Aero parts and parts that dont affect the drivability and are more for looks i think copys would be fine
      1. NatAsp-M3's Avatar
        NatAsp-M3 -
        This is a great thread. It brings up some often-overlooked moral questions. Ultimately, I a believer that $#@! works itself out in the end. Ideas, software, and hardware get stolen all the time, and it aint right. It's impossible to completely enforce the laws - some of which are interpreted as "gray" areas. Companies that can't adapt to theft by improving their product or emphasizing quality will fall. Great companies will survive, regardless. If everyone only buys knock-offs, then we could loose innovation. Either way, it is what it is... this is the world we live in. People buy things without considering the moral impacts all the time. Most people justify their actions with their own private 12 person jury. I mean, how many people here think twice about removing their cats, or even their secondary cats? Companies that sell cheap copy parts pay taxes and employ Americans, too, right? ... just more food for thought
      1. dzenno@PTF's Avatar
        dzenno@PTF -
        Basically the power of information (internet) combined with not so great looking parts is ruining these high end "tuners"...in the 90s, especially early 90s, how many people even had internet let alone search engine's were sh*t...altavista and lycos used to rule Click here to enlarge
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by dzenno Click here to enlarge
        Basically the power of information (internet) combined with not so great looking parts is ruining these high end "tuners"...in the 90s, especially early 90s, how many people even had internet let alone search engine's were sh*t...altavista and lycos used to rule Click here to enlarge
        Certainly people learn way more about parts due to the internet and forums really but even way back in the day there were copies.
      1. Itsbrokeagain's Avatar
        Itsbrokeagain -
        Ive been dealing with the aftermarket business for almost 11 years now. Over the course of time ive learned that when it comes to knockoff engine parts or performance parts, you get what you pay for...i try not to install replica bits because in the end they will cost you more time trying to get them in.

        As far as wheels go, us people living here in the tri-state area have a bit of a problem. Our roads suck here and that is one thing that will never change nor can we change. Does that mean if we dont buy real BBS wheels we cant have any at all?

        You hit a pothole here, the oem wheels will crack....so replicas cant be considered weaker all the time. Ive dealt with certain replica wheels and i bent the $#@! out of all 4 wheels on some minor bumps. Then we run linea corse wheels on my girls car and we have never ever had an issue....and we have accidently hit stuff that i thought was gonna rip the wheel off the car.

        The other issue is that you bend one bbs wheel you are out a 1000 bucks. You dont ever see the cali guys havin an issue with roads smooth as glass. It just sucks here. LM can attest..there are some holes that will swallow your car.
      1. Itsbrokeagain's Avatar
        Itsbrokeagain -
        Oh and another thing...sure selling knockoff engine/exhaust parts might be creating a job here for someone, but most of the time they dont give two $#@!s about how the product fits on your car. As sticky said they are just here to make a buck...they can go out of business or generate enough bad rep to just close down, change their name and reopen again. Ive seen it happen with several shops here in the Queens area...always someone else to screw and rip off.

        Its something we can never get rid of...we can do a lot to slow it down and prevent its advance like posting reviews or using the internet to do research before you buy something or have a shop do the work. Of course that gets swayed as well by politics on forums and who pays who...so sometimes its like fighting an uphill battle...
      1. MSIZZLE's Avatar
        MSIZZLE -
        i have a vorsneir replica lip on my m6 and i couldnt justify spending 1500 on a real one that scrapes my driveway everyday, i rather buy a new one every summer for 250
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by MSIZZLE Click here to enlarge
        i have a vorsneir replica lip on my m6 and i couldnt justify spending 1500 on a real one that scrapes my driveway everyday, i rather buy a new one every summer for 250
        Same thinking here.

        It isn't a black or white issue and a difficult one. That said, I wouldn't buy replica wheels.
      1. DavidV's Avatar
        DavidV -
        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
        Having crappy rims is always gonna cost you more than having originals. Especially if you hav a car capable of higg speeds and use it to specs.
        I think AC did the consumer a favor in this case.
        As with all parts which you use and rely on, be it engine parts, bolts, struts, or what not, going for an imitation part will always cost you in the end.
        If you're lucky it simply breaks. If your luck runs out, you can total your car since it wil only fail under stress...
        I remember a scandal few years back with airplane imitation parts, where even Airforce 1 was repaired with imitation parts. Most of those parts did not pass safety requirements.

        As others already said, you get what you pay for.
        My 2 cts