Making The Gear

For many years, from the time his second family nest emptied until declining health provided a plausible excuse not to, my grandfather headed to Florida after New Years. He always rented for four months, and he always returned to Syracuse in three. He hated Florida. So, one day I asked him why he went each year. It seems that he was trapped by expectations. Once he had established that he could afford to go, he thought that not going would suggest a decline in his fortunes. His social standing couldn’t risk this.

For many years, similar reasoning caused AutoGear to attend a big national automotive service industry show. It didn’t pay, but we ‘had’ to go. The show did provide an opportunity to meet our export customers who, rather than seeing attendance as a burden, saw it as a holiday.

My father told the story that at one gathering he was approached by a well-known export customer who asked our price for a popular item, the mainshaft second gear for a 1950’s Ford three-speed. To my father’s quote the customer responded, “Your price is laughable! I can buy the same gear from another company for much less.” My father, being prepared for this, had samples of the competitors’ gear and AutoGear’s equivalent on hand. Which he showed the customer. “Look at the clutching teeth! They aren’t centered! This gear can’t be shifted properly. Our gear can.” To which the customer replied, “I know their gear is junk, but it’s less expensive. And getting it to work isn’t my problem. It’s the problem of the person who buys it from me. If I buy yours my selling price will be so high no one will buy from me”. That competitor went out of business a few years later. It seems that junk made in the United States was no longer cheap enough.

What do we take from this? Just like the old west, where for every fast gun there was always someone faster, for every vendor willing to cut a corner there is always someone willing to cut one more. They all understand that they are selling junk but, like that importer, they believe that they can’t be competitive otherwise. They all believe that parts that don’t fit, don’t function or don’t last are the end-user’s problem, not theirs. They also know that poor quality will eventually put them out of business, but probably not before your check clears.

How do the end-user, these vendors care for so little about, protect themselves? Shop quality, not the lowest price. Where possible, avoid middlemen and buy directly from the manufacturer. The manufacturer has a real interest in your satisfaction. We at AutoGear will never sacrifice quality for cost. We will always provide the highest quality, most reliable and highest performing parts at a competitive price.


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