The African car spares and engine parts market is so vast that it’s difficult to know which suppliers are legitimate and, when they are, how reliable they are in terms of stocking and delivering parts that are relevant to buyers.
In addition, there’s enormous demand for second hand parts, particularly in the bigger economies, like South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya, because public transport is entirely dependent on taxis. Also, throughout the continent, road infrastructure is extremely variable. So, damage to vehicles from bad roads adds to the incessant requirement for motor car parts.
As a buyer, therefore, you risk being exposed to unscrupulous suppliers. They take advantage of the high demand by selling bad quality parts or to charge exorbitant prices, particularly for the specialist parts, spares for older models that are not being manufactured any more, and parts that have to be imported.
How do you ensure, then, that you’re not being ripped off?
- Choose a supplier that is an authorised reseller of well-known brands.
- Even if they also sell spares from vehicles that are not among those brands, they can’t afford the established brands to mistrust them because of suspicious behaviour. They have to protect their links to the major brands by being squeaky clean in terms of business practice.
- The presence of established brands will also keep a lid on overall prices at that supplier. No brand will tolerate being undercut or part of a business that is known to be over-pricing.
- Look for suppliers that have been around for at least a decade. They wouldn’t have survived this long in a cut-throat business without keeping customers happy in terms of quality and price.
- Choose a supplier that has a fitment centre. The investment in equipment and staff for a fitment centre means that the company has a vested interest in serving customers properly in order to stay in business.
- Opt for a supplier that offers a support and advice service. People are an organisation’s most expensive overhead. Companies that simply want to unload their bad quality parts on unsuspecting buyers won’t commit to meeting large payrolls.
- And, of course, a reliable motor parts company will also be prepared to guarantee its products.
At Team Merbeda, we meet all these criteria and then go a couple of steps further to ensure that our customers are always satisfied: we deliver anywhere in Africa; and, if we don’t have the part you need, we’ll go to the trouble of finding it for you.