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Re: Parts suppliers

Subject: Re: Parts suppliers
Date: Wed, 18 Dec 1996 20:19:07 -0500
In a message dated 96-12-18 14:42:30 EST, writes:

<< Recent correspondence has dealt with peoples' excitement at finding new
 sources for parts for our LBCs at prices lower than "the big three". Can
 I offer a thought that I feel should be borne in mind when choosing
 In twenty years of restoring LBCs, I have found that buying for less is
 not always the best way to go. The smaller companies generally sell only
 the fast-moving, most frequently purchased items. Volume enables them to
 price these things lower. But when it comes to the hard-to-find parts
 that are so often critical to completing a restoration, they don't have
 These parts, often NLS from the original manufacturer, have in most cases
 been re-manufactured as a result of the investment of many thousands of
 dollars by the big three (especially Moss Motors). Without this
 investment on their part, I know our shop would not have been able to
 complete a lot of the jobs we have done. If we buy only these
 hard-to-find parts from the big three, their sales and profits fall, and
 they will be less likely to continue the investment needed to keep
 virtually everything we need in stock.
  Doesn't it make sense, in the long run, to support the people who are
 willing to tie up lots of their money in helping keep our cars on the
 road, rather than putting money into the pockets of the people interested
 only in selling the fast-moving bits?  >>

Sorry to have to copy so much of the original post, but I need need it here
for comparison.

I want to say right up front that I don't buy this argument in its entirety.
 It appears that you're implying that we should buy everything from "the big
three" and pay whatever they ask just to keep them from going out of business
or to enable them to continue to supply every part that we need.  I could
write volumes on counter arguments, but I won't.  I'll keep it very brief and
address only a few key points.

First, the big three do not for long stock parts that they loose money on.
 If a part doesn't sell in the required volume at the required price it is
soon discontinued.  At the very moment that this post came in I was faxing an
order to England to get a part for my MGA that none of the big three stocks.
 So don't say we can keep the parts available just because we buy from the
big guys.

The competition from smaller vendors serves quite well to keep the prices in
line, and the little guys often have parts that the big guys don't.  I
seriously doubt that the big guys will suffer from the competition.  If the
big guys stop selling a part, the little guys will raise the asking price,
it's only reasonable.  When the price is right the big guys will supply the
parts, and I think the big guys have a substantially better price advantage
than the little guys.

And if you think the big guys aren't making enough money on the parts they
pay to retool and bring back into production, check out the Moss Motors
asking price for MGA fenders, bonnets and deck lids.  I'm not complaining
mind you.  Some time ago I would have paid a considerably large price for a
fromt fender when it wasn't available, and I'm in the market and might still
buy a new bonnet at the current price.

It is also possible to buy from the big three by way of a third party vendor
at a substantial discount, and still have the parts shipped direct from the
big guy to you.  Same parts, same inventory, and generally same good service.
 You get that nice discount because the third party guy gets a bigger
discount from the big guys.  The third party guy gets that bigger discount
because he buys in large volume.  Now try to argue that the big guy doesn't
give that generous discount voluntarily, or that the big guy isn't still
making a profit under those conditions.

The only problem I see with buying from the little guys is maybe a quality
question on parts that they may get from "cheaper" sources.  In this case
it's buyer beware, and the buyers' communication amongst themselves helps
tremendously in that respect.  I don't believe that the buyers (that's us)
will go out of their way to buy low quality parts just for the sake of a
slightly lower price.  And if we do that because there's a big price
difference, then it's because we conscientiously decided that the cheaper
parts are good enough and the extra measure of quality does not justify the
higher price.  It's a free trade environment, the consumer has the cash, and
that's what drives the supply.

Any other opinnions?

Barney Gaylord
1958 MGA

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