Brands – Who Are These People

Besides having a catchy name or fancy logo, just who are these companies, and where is their products built?  Are they the same as when I bought in years past or are they just another front for something else.

Since I recently was asked to guest blog on this site, I decided to use my 30+ years in the automotive aftermarket, where I’ve seen companies come and go, get bought and sold, or get absorbed by something else.   I thought this is a subject we wrestle with, especially when we want to buy an item and are not sure we know enough about the company who stands behind the product that is for sale.

Being that the automotive industry has been around for a long time now, original founders or their families still running things, is a rare occurrence.  For major new vehicle manufacturers, the group is small, Ford Motor Company and Toyota Motor Corporation.  For aftermarket manufacturers it’s hard to keep track, because so much keeps changing, and now with the economy the way it’s been, it’s more difficult than ever.

Heck, in the electronics industry or home appliance industry, most American brands are now owned by foreign companies and the products are built there too.  So where does that leave us the consumer?  In nowhere land, trying to decipher all the advertising.

So, my request to the Shopper Outlet Network is, be the Wikipedia of this marketplace!  Tell it like it is.  After all, isn’t the customer supposed to be number one?

Why, because it matters.  With investment companies who care little for brand consistency, and instead, more about making money off of a name while building the product elsewhere, they have hurt our expectations on what we think we are getting in a branded item.

As an industry insider, I’ve heard more stories than I care to know.

  • Where plants were moved to Mexico, and now the manufacturer who thought it was a great idea, is now struggling with quality that is not being produced consistent.
  • Where companies change who makes their stuff more than they should, just because personnel in plants in Asia aren’t stable.
  • And of course my favorite, where companies buy companies for the brand name, then without knowing it, the guts of a company you grew to know and trust is gone.

 

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had enough with the outsourcing.  To me, how something is made, where, what level of quality does the product have, and does it meet brand expectations we have, matters.  Yes, I still expect a reasonable price and service where I can speak to someone I can understand.  Overall, isn’t it time for us to know what and who we’re dealing with?  Put it out there and let the consumers decide is my view.