If you own a BMW chance you have cut the internet looking for great deals on BMW parts and accessories. Who can blame you? BMW's are famous for their good handling, but with good handling, the wear and steering parts (ie BMW steering arms and pressure arms) will be associated with wear. When these parts begin to wear, it is not surprising when you get a worrying quote from a dealer for hundreds, if not several thousand dollars, to replace these steering and suspension parts. I only use BMW control arms as an example, but it is across the board for all European cars like Mercedes, Audi, Volvo and Volkswagen.
You have now made a decision to do your own due diligence and try to source the parts outside a dealer to save some money. You will quickly be overwhelmed by the amount of company brands and products to choose from and may be confused by the jargon used in the aftermarket and OEM sub-industries. Terms such as genuine aftermarket, OEM, OES and OEA. I will end all this confusion here and right now.
- Genuine BMW parts: Genuine BMW parts are available in genuine BMW packaging. Easy and simple. If it is not in a genuine BMW box or has a BMW stamp on it, it is not considered a genuine BMW part. Keep in mind that BMW does not actually produce these parts, they are subcontractors to companies that manufacture the specific product. The company that manufactures the special part for BMW is called Original Equipment Manufacturer.
- OEM BMW parts: OEM stands for original equipment manufacturers. It is basically the same product as a genuine BMW part, but the manufacturer has sold the product in its own packaging instead of sending it directly to BMW to be packaged under the BMW name.
- OEA / OES BMW parts: Stand for either original aftermarket equipment or original equipment supplier. A company can manufacture genuine parts for Audi, Volkswagen, Mercedes or other car manufacturer, but if they have never made part for BMW, they will never be considered a genuine BMW part or OEM BMW part.
- Aftermarket BMW Share: An aftermarket BMW part is manufactured by a company that has never been contracted by a large car manufacturer to be their original equipment manufacturer. Although the company has never been contracted by a major car maker, the parts are made to fit and perform as well as OEM, as they are generally produced with the same materials and machines.
Our purpose here is not to be fraudulent. As you move down the chain, the incidence of getting over a BMW part that is inferior in quality increases. Now that you are a trained consumer, you can use this information along with checking the warranty policy and company credentials to make the best decision along the way.