Monday, December 14, 2009

BAIC’s SAAB Purchase and The Price of Aftermarket Parts

BAIC wants to create cars based on the SAAB 9-5 and 9-3. It makes me wonder what will happen to the price of parts for these two SAAB models.

My thoughts are that prices for certain 9-5 and 9-3 parts will go lower. The availability of more parts that are compatible with the vehicles will give SAAB owners more choice and this will put pressure on the current part companies to lower their prices. Regardless of if you’d put these new parts on your SAAB, the current part makers will still need to adjust prices to compete, so cheaper Scan-Tech and Elring parts could soon follow.

But what parts will be available and at a lower price? There have been a lot of changes to these cars over the years and BAIC, I can only assume, will be using the more recent designs. The number of parts my 2000 9-5 has in common with a current 9-5 is limited. For example, I wouldn’t expect the price of the neutral safety switch for my car to go lower because it was updated by SAAB years ago and the new part isn’t compatible with my SAAB.

One part I can picture being lowered in price is the Direct Ignition Cassette. These go out fairly regularly, can’t currently be repaired, and are pricey enough that people would look for an alternative. It’s the part I’d produce if I was in the aftermarket business.

The Throttle Body would be another great candidate for a lower priced alternative. They’re expensive to replace and the wiring inside them has a tendency to rot.

How about low priced Saab Information Displays? It seems every 9-5 and 9-3 owner fights missing pixels on the SID. Repairs exist, I’ve even fixed mine own SID, but a cheaper replacement would be nice. Mass airflow sensors, Alarm units, and Crankshaft Position Sensors are some others that I can picture going down in price.

What about the turbo? Will these new designs be turbocharged and which turbo will they use. Personally, I’d use the TD-04 turbo on all of them. I don’t see the TD-04 going down in price because it’s already a commonly used turbo. What if they do use the GT-17 turbo from the light pressure SAAB models? They’re surely not buying the design from Garrett, so they would have to rely on them as a supplier, but the additional vehicles could lower the price of a GT-17 turbo because they would help make this fairly rare model of turbo more in demand.

It will be interesting to see what BAIC does with the 9-5 and 9-3 designs and what happens to the aftermarket parts prices once the new vehicles are up and running.

-P. Econmancer