For the better part of the 20th century, Japan has distinguished itself as being one of the centres of innovation in the automotive industry. Vehicles in all automotive sectors, from family sedans, SUVs, supercars, buses, and heavy commercial equipment, have been produced by the enthusiastic Japanese automotive industry.
Due to our proximity to Japan, Japanese automakers have a commanding lead regarding market share. A large percentage of the cars used by Australian residents and commercial enterprises are Japanese. The major Japanese automakers that dominate the bus industry in Australia include Hino, Isuzu, Fuso and UD trucks.
The biggest problem for most car owners, especially operators that own buses, is finding the right parts for their vehicles. Due to the normal wear and tear that comes from long-term vehicle use, as well as car accidents, there is always the need for vehicle parts. This might be difficult to obtain for older models. Even for models that are supported by their manufacturers, it might be expensive to procure parts that are produced by bus manufacturers.
This is where aftermarket parts come in. Usually, aftermarket Japanese Bus parts are compatible with a vehicle model, but they are not produced by the corresponding vehicle manufacturer. They are cheaper than the manufacturer model and for older bus models, they may be the only source of parts, if the manufacturer no longer supports the model.
However, aftermarket parts can also be original manufacturer parts that aren’t directly distributed by the manufacturer. Sometimes, manufacturers form partnerships with reliable parts suppliers. These suppliers develop strategic shipping plans and buy in bulk, allowing them to sell original parts at deeply discounted prices. You get the benefit of genuine parts at a fraction of the cost.
With Japan being a centre of engineering excellence, and its aforementioned proximity to Australia, it is (unsurprisingly) the biggest source of aftermarket bus parts. The best part about the Japanese aftermarket part producers is that they produce parts for bus models that were not manufactured by Japanese companies.
When it comes to buying aftermarket Japanese bus parts, there are some guidelines that you need to be aware of to ensure that you are not duped. This is standard for every industry. There will always be unscrupulous dealers that will push parts that are either substandard or incompatible with your vehicle.
The most obvious tip for any consumer is to walk away from worryingly sweet deals. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. While in most instances aftermarket parts are meant to be cheaper than the options provided by the manufacturer, you still want parts that will serve you for a reasonable period.
As a general rule of thumb, if the part is priced at 50% or less of the market cost of the ‘original’ product, then you are probably being scammed. Even if it isn’t a scam, you’ll probably end up with a substandard spare part. You need to do your due diligence regarding the average aftermarket prices for the products that you are purchasing.
You also need to carefully vet the supplier that you are dealing with. There are many businesses that specialise in providing Japanese aftermarket spare parts for the Australian market. Most of them are legitimate businesses which deal with reputable manufacturers to procure quality parts for your bus.
With the increasing ubiquity of online review sites, you can check the experiences that past clients have had with a supplier before deciding to do business with them. Walk away from any supplier that does not have a stellar customer review profile on the most reputable review websites.
While you can save significantly if you import directly from a Japanese supplier of aftermarket bus parts, you need to carry out a thorough due diligence effort. There is no form of recourse if you get scammed by an overseas supplier. One of the ways you can thin out potential suppliers is the payment options that they offer.
Most credit card companies, as well as online payment platforms such as PayPal, have dispute resolution services where you can get a refund if the supplier does not meet their end of the bargain. If they opt for money transfer options such as western union which don’t support refunds, that’s a red flag that you are possibly dealing with a fraudulent supplier.
It is recommended that you work with an established local vendor for aftermarket parts to minimise the risk you are exposed to regarding fraud.