Originally Posted by 2kg4u
I can tell you with absolute certainty GM'* retention policy is 15 years past end of production, meaning, they expect suppliers to provide service parts for 15 years after the vehicle stops being produced. This is as long as, or longer than, any other vehicle manufacturer.
I'm retired, but I work part-time at a Ford/Chrysler dealership (the owner is a close friend, so I do it more as a favor than anything else...). Some of the time, I work in the parts department. I also worked in the parts department of a Chevrolet dealership many years ago. So - what I'm saying here comes from a lot of time spent on the other side of the counter.
If GM is asking for 15 years from its suppliers, that'* fantastic from my perspective. My experience is that Ford runs an 11 year cycle. Chrysler'* is longer, but I don't think it goes to 15 years - maybe 13. I'm almost certain that Ford auctions it'* old parts as the cycles close, because they seem to 'disappear' off the inventory shortly after 11 years. I'm not defending the Big-3, but I will say that keeping parts (no matter how old) in stock in warehouses is a very expensive undertaking. You're tying up capital that could be used elsewhere.
You also have to understand the how-and-why of dealership parts departments. The dealers and manufacturers don't really give a hoot about people who own their older cars. The main reason-for-being for dealership parts departments is to supply parts to the technicians in the service department. A distant second-in-importance job for parts departments is the business of keeping wholesale customers (body shops, large independent garages, etc.) happy. Retail sales to over-the-counter (OTC) customers are generally considered a pain-in-the-neck. Every minute you spend on the phone with someone who is trying to fix an old car is a minute taken away from your 'real' job - supplying parts to the techs who are fixing the 0-5 year old cars of the customers who trade regularly. Besides that, the OTC sales take up a LOT of time. Most of the people who call or walk in don't know how to exactly describe the part they need and rarely have the VIN with them. My guess would be that it takes at least three times as long to sell the average OTC part as it does to get the right part to a technician. And, in the end, many OTC customers walk away when they hear the dealership'* price (after taking up a considerable amount of the parts department'* time).
Sorry for being long-winded, but I thought I'd let you know what the view is like from the other side of the fence...