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Old 12-09-2010, 02:42 AM   #1

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This is an informational post on the proliferation of knock off products in the new Camaro market. This has been a "heated" subject, and it is probaly best it has it's own thread.

There is a cottege industry of companies on ebay and so forth that take an American companies design (say Kooks in the Camaro's case), send it off to China where it is knocked of by a Chinese contract manufacturer. These headers are then dumped on ebay at a signifigantly lower price than the original American header. Rule of thumb is iof it is hand polished and OMG cheap, there is some foriegn labor involved somewhere. Polishing takes time, and you normally cannot pay an American to do it in a cost effective manner.

Now everyone likes to carp about headers being expensive for the new Camaro. In reality, a nice set of american made stainless headers with cats runs over $1000 for pretty much any modern muscle car. Hell, headers and catted y-pipe for a 4th gen F-body still cost more than a 5th gen Camaro. Now I am talking a full featured stainless header system from one of the big name sponsors here.

Now..your likely wondering why you can get a header on ebay for less than half what an american made big name brand costs. There is a few reasons for the price difference in the knock offs such as-

a.) They steal other peoples designs. It's not just time.. if you saw how much the machine to convert a prototype header into CNC bend data for production alone costs. And this only get used when you are making new parts.
b.) They sell on ebay with no support, warranty, or anything. They don't own the manufactuering facility and have all the taxes with that because they use contract warehouses.
c.) Lastly, and THIS IS A BIG ONE - China deliberatly unvalues the yaun to the everything they make is artifically cheap here. Their government decides that their currency will be worth so much againt the dollar. Then when the US dollar is going down in value (like now), rather than the Yaun going up, it goes down even more, making Chinese imports even cheaper. Our government is unhappy about this, and is trying to change it...but with the amount of money we borrow form is hard for us to tell them how to do business.

I cannot stress how important the currancy issue is..this is the factor that makes these headers so cheap that no amount of cost cutting would allow an american company to compete.

So here is the catch 22. If you are a company like say have two options. You can play hard ball or join them. By hardball, I mean patent every design, and spend tens of thousands of dollars protecting your IP. This however will fail because all a company has to do is change one bend and they get around the patent. And the added legal costs would make each header more expensive. And even iof you do go to enforce a patent..there are thousands more in legal fees. It makes sense on drugs, or software that could touch millions of consumers hands. It does not make sense when you have 400 part numbers selling in a volume of a few dozen to a few thousand a year.

The other option is to join them. Shut down support, forget the warranty or actually making your own product. Just have some offices, and make everything with Chinese contract manufactures using other companies designs. Oh wait...if one of the big header companies did that, they would be flamed 9 ways to Sunday. So you really have no good options expect to expose the knock off for what it is, and hope customers discern...which is kinda my goal here.

For a sponser, it is absolutly disheartening to see someone act like buying a knock off version of a brand you sell is smart because they are they are copies of a quality header and half the price. Especially when these companies use a business model no reputable sponser here could get away with. I am all for saving money. I work my butt off everyday to compete, offer great prices, great sevice and provide value to my customers. So when I get upset about something like is because I see shortcuts and business practices being unsed that normally would not fly, but are being overlooked because the product is dirt cheap.

I know people will accuse me of beating a dead horse..but I feel that it is the 800lb gorrilla in the room everyone ignores. If a Chinese company wants to design their own headers and sell them, I am down with that. However when they steal another companies designs and dump them on ebay...that is not a legitimate way of doing business and should be called out as such.

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Last edited by MarylandSpeed; 12-09-2010 at 03:37 AM.
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Old 12-09-2010, 04:35 AM   #2

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if these items are that bad why are sponsors of this forum allowed to run group purchase's on these items
415ci stroker, TVS 2300 Magnacharger, cnc heads, cam, yank ss3200 converter, Kooks long tubes, Bwoody true cold air kit, ZL1 Pump, magnaflow 3" cat-back, lowering springs,BMR control arms and tie rod bars, 3.73 gears, diff mounts, RX can, ADM fuel controller
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Old 12-09-2010, 05:25 AM   #3
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Well said. Im savin my money for kooks!
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Old 12-09-2010, 05:40 AM   #4
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Great Post.

Truly sucks.

I had a product years ago that got knocked off to china,killed my company
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Old 12-09-2010, 05:49 AM   #5

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This is something that really does suck. Where as I am a designer/manufacturer through the years I have had many products copied by such companies but even worse there are American companies who do the same. Making a part is not necessarily that difficult what is difficult and costly is the work in putting ideas into reality. There is much time and money spent on R&D, programming is a big one. Companies who do knock off's typically use cnc machines with digitizing( almost like tracing). These companies bypass all the expence as well as using sub-par materials in many cases.
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Old 12-09-2010, 07:34 AM   #6
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Im glad you brought this subject up in a thread. Being a car guy who likes to mod the cars I buy I thought I would chime in as well. I like a bargain as much as the next guy, but consider the US workers that jobs may be at stake. The Chinese companies can undersell the us with their knock off parts for one reason: they don't pay their workers a fair wage for a days work. They also provide little to no benefits for their employees. Back in the 1930s thru the 1960s, the US was the worlds leader in manufacturing. We lost that distinction due to sending jobs overseas. While I am somewhat disappointed with the fact that the us unions themselves were a big reason for the shift of jobs to overseas, I still do my very best to buy us made products when I shop. Just this week I was looking at a set of headers, and even though I could have saved some money by getting the Ebay brand, I spent a little more to get a US made set. To me it's just the right thing to do if you can afford it. I'm not judging what others do with their money, it's just the way I feel I need to do things. Check out the documentary "the last train home" for a great view how chinese manufacturing works.

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Old 12-09-2010, 08:01 AM   #7
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I agree 100% with everything said. This is why I dont buy anything for my cars off ebay. I dont buy anything unless I know it's the true manufacture of it. I dont buy knock off's or things that people claim its built by a sister company of so and so big company.

I seen these headers as I had people come to me to install them. I had one set that bowed in the middle and would not sit correctly on the head itself. When I told the person they are garbage to return them. He got so many run arounds and hassles he ended up eatting the cost.

Unless its SLP, kooks, headman or hooker I dont touch them and I tell my customers to be cautious of what they buy off ebay.
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Old 12-09-2010, 08:04 AM   #8

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But how do you exscuse companys the sells 2 muffleres and 2 tips ( called an axle back ) and sell it for 5-600$ or a mufflere delete ( loude mouth) and sell that for 300$! I understand the header thing, but prices for some of this stuff is insaine! I my self can weld and always work on my own stuff, so I will build my own axle back for a fraction of that price.
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Old 12-09-2010, 08:18 AM   #9
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I agree with all you said, but another big reason not to buy them is quality. Most of the time the stuff is JUNK!!!
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Old 12-09-2010, 08:26 AM   #10
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Well said MarylandSpeed. I don't support Terrorism as well as Thievism. Thievism is another way to destroy/kill our economy and our way of life.
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Old 12-09-2010, 08:31 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by MarylandSpeed View Post
c.) Lastly, and THIS IS A BIG ONE - China deliberatly unvalues the yaun to the everything they make is artifically cheap here. Their government decides that their currency will be worth so much againt the dollar. Then when the US dollar is going down in value (like now), rather than the Yaun going up, it goes down even more, making Chinese imports even cheaper. Our government is unhappy about this, and is trying to change it...but with the amount of money we borrow form is hard for us to tell them how to do business.
this is some tricky BS here... if you hadn't learned, China owns the dollar now.. the Federal Reserve and our Treasury decide what the value of our dollar is worth by creating it out of thin air (inflating it)... so when you say China purposely devalues the 元 to hurt our dollar, we devaulue the $ to hurt their dollar (and investment) as well as ourselves.. i certainly agree with you on purchasing local products even if they are more expensive, but to villify China as a country isnt correct... i buy products from China and the US.. guess what, China is better are some things and we are better at others... proven 50 years worth of using parts from US, China, Mexico, Sri Lanka, UK, etc... price drives our economy and although i dont care for the global adjenda, its happening and will continue to unfold...
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Old 12-09-2010, 09:03 AM   #12
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Nice post Marylandspeed!

I worked at Home Depot for years and I have seen it slowly go more and more to China goods. And I have in that time seen the qaulity drop. And many things that was expected to last were bascially junk and last months instead of years. Yes even from the american companies who pulled their companies out of the US and put them in China (to save a buck from being taxed out of business). These days I look and see where the good is made. If my government can not do anything about the situtation then I'll vote with my dollar and buy american when I can.

Anyone that uses the globalization arguement hasn't waiting in the un-employment line when their job is moved out of country.

my 2cents..

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Old 12-09-2010, 09:24 AM   #13
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Excellent Post.

If everyone just stole from everyone else where would we be as a society?
Where would you be economically ?

If the military allowed this to occur, we'd all be speaking Chinese within a few years.

Contrary to popular belief, many studies have shown if America consumed (bought) 100% within its borders, it would be a thriving country with a standard of living well above any other country. Other countries don't have that luxury and/or natural resources we do. This includes intellectual resources.

Just my <.02
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Old 12-09-2010, 09:52 AM   #14

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We simply do not sell knock off's for these reasons.

If it keeps going at this rate there will be no more performance shops around.Everybody can buy e-bay items but no shop to do the work.
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