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Mopar Bridging the Gap Between Factory and Aftermarket

New Mopar ’14 coming to SEMA Show in November.

by on Oct.14, 2013

Mopar will reveal 20 customized models at the SEMA Show next month -- including the new limited-edition Mopar '14 model.

The “other” Chrysler Group brand will be making a big splash when the annual SEMA Show rolls into Las Vegas next month, Mopar planning to reveal 20 different customized versions of various Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, Fiat and SRT models – and perhaps a unique vehicle of its own, hints MOPAR president Pietro Gorlier.

For years operating in the shadows as little more than the supplier of replacement wipers and wheels, Mopar has begun to emerge as a distinct brand – and profit center — of its own since Chrysler was taken over by Fiat following the U.S. maker’s 2009 bankruptcy.  And observers say that’s no surprise. The automotive aftermarket has become big business, generating at least $30 billion in sales annually, according to the Special Equipment Marketers Association which sponsors the annual Las Vegas show.

Aftermarket News!

Mopar isn’t abandoning its traditional business. If anything, it has expanded its operations as the provider of replacement parts for the combined Chrysler-Fiat alliance. But it is also positioning itself as a powerhouse rival to traditional aftermarket vendors, whether producing parts of its own or sourcing them from outside vendors.

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Ragtop Restorations From the Factory

Karmann USA expands into the Volkswagen aftermarket.

by on Apr.02, 2009

Convertible tops are now highly engineered parts of a vehicle.

Tops are now highly engineered parts of a vehicle.

Since the odd looking Volkswagen Beetle convertible appeared in 1949, more than 200,000 were sold in the United States. Sales of the sleeker Karmann Ghia convertible, starting in 1957, added another 50,000 ragtops to the sales tally. And since some of these classic German bugs are still in the hands of collectors, if not in daily driving service, a subsidiary of their original maker thinks there’s money to be made repairing, restoring or customizing them.

While these kinds of services have long been the province of aftermarket specialty shops and Volkswagen dealers, Karmann Classics in Plymouth, Michigan, will use the cachet of its long standing reputation as one of the largest convertible makers in the world to break into the business.

Click Here to Subscribe“Thinking small,” like one of VW’s early advertising campaigns, the company will solicit customers from a four-state region of the Midwest (Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio), as well as convertible owners in Ontario, Canada. During its launch phase, Karmann Classics will have the capacity to work on three to four vehicles at a time. The company plans to expand nationwide and eventually will provide restoration services for all convertibles. Karmann Classics is also working with local VW dealerships, to help them handle vehicle restoration.

“As the original manufacturer of the VW Karmann Ghia and VW Beetle convertible, Karmann is uniquely positioned to rebuild convertible roof systems for these vehicles,” says Erik Roeren, president and CEO of Karmann USA. “We believe there will be considerable demand for Karmann Classics’ services.”  (more…)

Repair Charges Much Higher at New Car Dealerships

Costs on average are 34% more compared with independent shops. Significant regional variations exist.

by on Mar.17, 2009

Shop around so you'll be smiling too.

Shop around so you'll be smiling too.

As new car sales languish, dealers are increasing the promotion of repair and collision services to make up for the lost revenue. If you aren’t careful, you could end up paying too much for their services. A new study from the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association says that consumers paid $11.7 billion too much last year for parts and service.

To arrive at this conclusion AAIA compared the parts and labor costs of 10 vehicle repair jobs for domestic and import brand vehicles in six cities, including Boston, Newark, Atlanta, St. Louis, Los Angeles and Seattle. The study revealed what AIAI called “dramatic differences” in the costs of parts and labor between domestic and import brands, and from city to city. For example, car owners in Los Angeles and Atlanta pay as much as 47% more at dealerships than independent repair shops for repairs; Boston and Seattle repairs at dealerships were only 20% higher.

“In response to repeated requests by congressional leaders studying the merits of the Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair legislation, AAIA commissioned a study to once and for all provide a comprehensive analysis that validated the contention that it costs consumers more to repair their vehicle at new car dealerships than at independent repair shops,” says Kathleen Schmatz, AAIA president and CEO. AAIA represents more than 100,000 repair shops, parts stores and distributors. (more…)