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R. L. Polk & Co’s Ask the Industry Talks About Consumer Awareness of Reman Parts

Drastic changes have taken place in the automotive industry over the past few years. Increased offshoring of production capabilities, increased quality of imported product and a slate of bankruptcies have completely altered the U.S. automotive landscape. But perhaps one segment in particular faces the most challenges today: reman. For this week’s Ask the Industry, we asked three executives from U.S. remanufacturing companies to give us their thoughts on marketing remanufactured parts to consumers.

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AKRON, OHIO — Drastic changes have taken place in the automotive industry over the past few years. Increased offshoring of production capabilities, increased quality of imported product and a slate of bankruptcies have completely altered the U.S. automotive landscape. But perhaps one segment in particular faces the most challenges today: reman.

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For this week’s Ask the Industry, we asked three executives from U.S. remanufacturing companies to give us their thoughts on marketing remanufactured parts to consumers. We’ve asked: What can the industry do to better market reman parts to consumers and why is it important?

Here’s what we learned:

Tony Edwards, Marketing Director, CARDONE:

“We believe that reman parts offer customers the look, fit, and function of the OE part (built from the OE core) at a lower cost than OE products. Where flaws may have been found in the original design, we have made improvements over the original parts, making them better than the original and many new parts that reproduce the original flaws. In addition, reman parts are better for the environment because they reduce landfill, and are better for our economy because many remanufacturers are here in North America.”

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Tony Perticari, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Crown Remanufacturing

“The thoughts I have are obviously very biased, being that I’m in the business, but the way I see it, a reman part brings a lot of value to the customer, especially when you compare it to the unit from the OE channel. The pricing is usually much more competitive, the quality is excellent — if it’s from a viable remanufacturer – and, the reverse engineering that goes into it usually gives you a better product with more up-to-date technology put into it, especially with the electronic units.

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“Plus, many of the parts that are coming into the market from overseas don’t carry the same types of guarantees or the same warranties. That is an important thing. You know the source when you buy from a domestic remanufacturer.

“The advent of new parts coming in from offshore is here. We all know it. Remanufacturers face a daunting task. If this continues and the offshore suppliers aren’t asked to provide the services that we [domestic suppliers] have to provide, there will always be an imbalance in the market.”

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Tom Schrader, VP of Marketing Jasper Engines, and incoming chairman of the Engine Repower Council (ERC):

“One of biggest challenges is trying to get everybody working together, similar to the way people in the industry got behind the “Be Car Care Aware” campaign. For those of us who are in that specific industry, we need to try to work together to get that message out to the consumer. The other big challenge is helping the repair shops, and providing them with more information and more justification for their customers to choose remanufactured products. I’ve said this for a long, long time: The sale of those products happens in the repair shop. Very few of those purchases come from someone waking up one day and saying “Oh, I need a remanufactured engine.” They start shopping around. They realize something is wrong with their vehicle and take it into a repair shop and that’s when the process starts. To me, the key link in the chain is the independent repair shop.

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“I think there is work to be done, when it comes to educating the consumer. That is our [the ERCs] mission, and that is what we are going to execute. Our latest efforts are the complete updating of the ERC website, to try and make it more educational for the consumer. We’re also in discussions about creating downloadable point-of-purchase materials for the shops. At Jasper, we’re finding that this [online materials] is becoming a more popular user-friendly way for them to have the information.

Summary by Amy Antenora, Editor, aftermarketNews:

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