Why are motorcycle parts so expensive?

BMW diagnostic tool parts

Have you ever found genuine motorcycle parts are much more expensive than generic parts, even though they may be of the same quality?

The problem is that non-genuine parts can sometimes void warranties, so riders are pressed into spending more than they should on high-priced factory parts.

However, parts may become cheaper under an Australian Consumer and Competition Commission study which is looking into many facets of the auto retailing industry in Australia.

One aspect they are looking at is the restrictive practices of parts.

We expect the draft report in mid-2017 and the final report in late 2017. It will then be up to the government to decide on legislation based on the study which could also include “Lemon Laws” for terminally defective vehicles.

There is more information here.  

In a welcome trend, BMW Motorrad has become the first motorcycle manufacturer to join the multi-brand online ordering portal partslink24.

It allows independent workshops to purchase original spares and accessories directly from authorised BMW Motorrad dealers.

While it is currently only available in European markets, there is hope it will be introduced around the world and extended to other motorcycle manufacturers.

Cheaper parts?

It would help break the manufacturer stranglehold on supplies and diagnostic systems for independent repair and maintenance. It may also lead to cheaper parts.

Motorcycle rights campaigner Wayne Carruthers says BMW may be simply meeting “right to repair” provisions in coming European regulations.

Wayne Carruthers exhaust helmets parts
Wayne Carruthers

In Australia, BMW nominates certain car and bike dealers as “distributing dealers” and independents order from them.

However, knowledgeable DIY mechanics have been sourcing cheaper products online from overseas.

“The parts side of many Australian dealerships have been suffering loss of business to online purchasing so the auto industry needs to change their business model to improve local pricing,” Wayne says.

“I noticed with the only part I have purchased from BMW recently they seem to be making an effort; the part was price-parity to what I knew the US part price to be.”

Meanwhile, the partslink24 service will offer BMW supplies for models ranging from the 1948 R24 to the latest touring machines.

All the original BMW Motorrad parts, data, and images displayed on partslink24 are based on the motorcycle manufacturer’s original spares catalogue to be easily identifiable.

 

10 Comments

  1. I needed to replace the LH side case for my ST1100A a few years ago. The Australian price was around the $1700 mark. I can get the case from the UK for little over $500 to my door. The case would have been sourced direct from Japan from either seller. The guy in the UK (not a dealer)makes a profit so how much profit does Honda Australia need to make.

    Neither got my money as someone was wrecking their ST ad I paid $75 and all I needed to do was swap the locks over.

    I can buy 3 sets of OEM brakes pads in the UK and pay the same as two sets in Australia

    Even with the exchange rate it’s still cheaper to buy from the US including postage for most Honda ST1100 parts. Only thing I can’t get is coloured parts as my colour wasn’t available in the US but the UK covers those.

    I still use a local dealer for parts like bearings fork seals because I get them to do the work. They don’t have an issue of posting parts to me either.

  2. Population of Australia is much smaller than most countries.
    So there are less sales per unit, this leads to less profit margin so more units need to be sold or the price is higher to offset the smaller sales.
    Still doesn’t make it right but I suppose that is the justification for higher prices.

    1. Michael. The offshore manufacturers of auto parts operate at a self regulated cost to produce parts. This is not raised or lowered because of the country ordering. Unlike new motorcycle sales, parts are ordered initially on a prediction of sales and then on typical past requirement. Therefore, cost is not influenced by sales. It is well known that part sales is a companies main revenue. For example: ABS modules sold from Germany for $3100 (rounded up AUD) to the world are sold by BMW US for $3800, AU for $4000, Europ for $800. Transport costs and import tax put the cost up but not that much. BMW know that this part is prone to failure so the turn over is in the hundreds per year. $200 profit per item!!!

  3. From a retailer’s point of view, there are definitely some shops out there that are unrealistic on their prices, but for most of us we are simply held to account by the manufacturer/supplier and are required to sell at a minimum advertised price. Either that or the wholesale price is set too high.

    On top of that, when a customer purchases a single item overseas they generally don’t pay GST or customs duties, whereas retailers have to buy in bulk, meaning they pay GST and customs charges on top of foreign exchange fees. All that contributes to it being very difficult to match overseas prices, and so all they can do is compete on service and speed of delivery.

    It’s an interesting modern world of business, and hopefully the consumers are (or will be) the eventual winners.

  4. Parts prices in Australia are artificially increased higher than other countries.
    New bike prices are artificially increased higher than other countries.
    When in S.E. Asia, go into a bike shop & check their prices – you’ll be stunned how low they are for the same models as in Australia.

    1. Re New bike prices , this may in part be because certain organizations are “employed ” to see they meet Australian “standards” and that is where some of the cost goes .
      However if bikes meet the EU standard one wonders why an extra cost need be imposed since EU standards are generally higher and there are many products where the EU sticker is required before they can be sold here in any case.

  5. Although genuine Suzuki parts are expensive, they are actually cheaper than the USA for example, even with our current exchange rate. Importing parts from outside Australia is uneconomical due to postage rates, which are completely ridiculous these days.. People would welcome cheaper pricing though, and not just for parts, tyres and other accessories. I see riders every day riding unsafe bikes, due to the cost of spares, especially in Queenslands depressed economy…

  6. When you buy a part you want it to be the right one and be able to take it back and get a replacement if there is a fault with it.
    This is the only thing that keeps customers coming back to physical stores as opposed to buying online. I once went through the entire stock of four dealerships trying to get a brake component that wasn’t faulty and I believe that this resulted in a vehicle recall. but when you can buy the exact same part often quicker from America at upto half or even as much as a tenth of the price as going to a dealer it’s no wonder bricks and mortar stores are crumbling.

  7. Recently tried ( again) to do the right thing to support the local dealer that sells allsorts of motorcycle brands of which keeping an inventory of even general parts must be near impossible. In my case a rear brake hose for a Hyosung worth 23$.
    I made the call to enquire, was told that the ordering day was yesterday and its done once a week and will take a week to arrive after ordering. So, 2 weeks or pay double for delivery in this week.
    In my case it was a trip to the local brake & clutch place and had it hand made for $50 on the spot.
    My point is that If I was travelling through a town and I broke down and required a different critical part then I’d better book some long term accommodation while I wait.

    So, after getting used to this modern treatment we look for a better way.

    Just about anyone that’s heard of Ebay and bike parts will know that ordering a part from the USA or England knows that it takes about 2 weeks for normal delivery. The often discounted price on the part plus postage will often be better priced by quite a difference and its more often than not you find a vendor you can trust. I’ve never had a problem but I’m very clear on the orders I make.

    Ok, I have stated what many know. Its time for the local suppliers to FIX the problem.
    I miss not being to make a single phone call to a motorcycle dealer I call a friend that fixes it fast.

  8. Hi Mark,
    I look forward to Australians getting consumer laws that give them far greater protections then we have today.

    I would like to give you an example of BMW Motorrad today gouging Australian consumers. I needed a part for my bike that was USD $36 (Max BMW in the states) and for the same item in Australia is AUD $109. Even with currency conversion and individual shipping I could land the part here for under AUD $75. That is outrageous and shows why when possible we order online and save.

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