Posts like a Corvette
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: San Diego, CA
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Got a reply from Bendix (my words in bold):
I completely hear what you are saying. However here are the facts-
Last year 95% of our sales were Chinese rotors and the other 5% were made in USA by Raybestos, yes, Raybestos was our rotor supplier. They and Wagner experienced the same exact market experience.
Early this year, the last two North American foundries making rotors closed, one owned by Raybestos the other by Wagner. This was due to market pressure and nothing else. There is simply no market for American made rotors because the vast majority of techs and DIY will not pay for them.
Not all rotors are from China. Premium rotors, such as Power slot, Brembo, high-end Raybestos, et.al., are still made in USA, Canada or Europe. Your rotors, which continue to be marketed and priced as if they were premium rotors (right down to the same part numbers), used to be of much higher quality and were once made in the USA.
Brembo rotors are not made in the USA; their aftermarket grade is mostly made in Brazil and sourced from other countries as well. Their premium rotors are made in Italy and the price of those is through the stratosphere as well as the fact that they are only available for performance vehicles.
Power Slot has never made rotors in the USA, they did source a few for a while, however they have no current source in the USA for rotors, and you can bet they come from a LCR (low cost region). They have never even been in the manufacturing business, they source their product. I have made repeated requests asking were there rotors come from and they do not answer my private or work emails.
Raybestos does still have some USA made product on their shelves as does Wagner but when ití* gone, ití* gone for good.
We do not control Advance advertising, they are well aware that we no longer supply USA made rotors, how they advertise is up to them.
This is the crux of my disappointment, and the issue you entirely avoided addressing; why should anyone pay $60+ for a Bendix rotor if the quality has sunk to that of any other $25 rotor on the market?
Furthermore, retailers have apparently not been made aware of this wholesale switch to Chinese production, as they continue to promote Bendix rotors as "made in USA or Canada" (e.g., Checker'* Schuck'*, Kragen, et.al.)
CSK and Advance auto parts share a website, it has not been updated for a long time. CSK is not currently a Bendix customer.
Our Chinese made premium rotor is of exceptional quality. There is a huge difference in our 60 dollar rotor and a cheap 25 dollar rotor. The metallurgy mimics the OE rotor as far as graphite and steel content and in many ways is better. Most all cheap rotors do not. The fin or pillar design does not vary from the OE design. Most all inexpensive rotors use a generic fin design that can cause cooling and noise issues.
The hat section and fin area is powder coated black for corrosion resistance. Inexpensive rotors do not have this corrosion resistance. The friction surface is bidirectional with a roughness average of less than 50, the OE says anything under 80 is good, we are much smoother. Again, most inexpensive rotors have a poor rough finish. We have not reduced quality at all, in fact it has improved, especially rotor runout tolerances are much better in the offshore made product.
1) Car enthusiast clubs and automotive forums will be made aware of your new "high-price / low-quality" strategy.
When you shop at Summit or Jegs, are you aware of how many of those products by large brand name makers are made offshore? Are you posting this information on the internet?
2) Car enthusiasts will entirely lose interest in Bendix brake parts, as you no longer produce a high-quality product at any price point.
I completely disagree with what you are saying, we make excellent products and I will happily supply you with any rotors and pads of your choice to make back to back comparisons to any pads/rotors on the market. We test our competitorí* products constantly and have a very thorough knowledge of how we stack up. What kind of car do you drive? I will send you parts and challenge you to compare them to some you think are much cheaper and better quality.
Pricing- When we went to Chinese sourced rotors, we reduced our prices to our customers by over 23%, whether they pass that on is strictly up to them.
Global- Bendix is a world wide company with manufacturing sites in 13 countries, including 3 plants in the USA. We have been making brake parts in the USA since 1924 and world wide for over 35 years.
Honestly, it is the USA consumer that has driven USA made rotors out of the country, the 5000 people who work at Bendix would not stay employed if we only sold to 5% of the market.
Please feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss.
Jay M. Bxxxxx
Technical Training Manager
My reply to that:
I truly appreciate your response. To be honest, I was expecting to be "blown off."
I understand, and lament, market pressure to push production overseas; furthermore, I understand that overseas does not necessarily mean lower quality. As my own company buys product from and sells materials to Chinese factories (and is building a factory there as we speak), I myself have toured these factories and seen the great strides in modernization and process control taking place. I suppose my primary issue is that, in this case, none of the savings you mentioned were passed on to the consumer; though, as you mention, that is apparently beyond your control. This made it appear as though Bendix was pulling a "bait-and-switch," hoping that no one would notice the "made in China" stamp on the box and that the product itself had changed dramatically.
I will say this; I believe your website should make it much more clear that even though Bendix has moved production to China, the company remains, as you suggest, committed to sourcing the highest available quality. Otherwise, the perception of "why pay more for the same China rotor" is sure to persist.
I am discussing this amongst my fellow Gearheads on internet forums, and I will pass on what you have said. We are a part of that 5% of the market who is willing to pay extra for higher quality.
P.*., it is my understanding that PowerSlot sources Brembo blanks for their rotors.
P.P.*., I drive a 1998 Buick LeSabre limited. 92-99 GM H-bodies are known to be particularly harsh on brakes, as they are a large car (3500+ lb) with undersized brakes (11" front rotor, rear drums). If you are serious regarding your offer to supply a set of front rotors and pads for my vehicle, I will gladly put them to the test.
2004 Buick Lesabre Limited, Gran Touring; Bone Stock
1998 Buick Lesabre Limited, Gran Touring; Mods: Poly sway bushings/endlinks, Tru-Cool trans cooler, Thrasher shift kit (med), PLIM, front PEM; Mods in progress: Alot of stuff, but slowly...