Frequently Asked Questions about OEM, OES, OE, Genuine and Aftermarket
Recent confusion over how automotive parts retailers classify different
types of parts has prompted us to create this Frequently Asked Questions
page so that we can clearly explain to our customers the confusing terms and
nomenclature that dominate our industry. We hope that you find this
information useful, and helpful in determining which parts to purchase for
What exactly does it mean when a part comes from an
OEM supplier for a particular part?
When Porsche first designs and
builds a car, it subcontracts out with many different suppliers (most of
whom are German companies) to supply parts for the car. For example, Behr is
an original equipment supplier to Porsche and the new Porsches that
left the factory often had Behr radiators in them (Behr is also an OEM
supplier for Porsche). Car manufacturers typically don't manufacture
the parts that go into the cars - they assemble the cars from parts made by
outside companies. The factory part that you purchase from the dealer
is in fact a repackaged part from an external manufacturer. Pelican
provides many parts from these outside manufacturers - they are called Original Equipment
Suppliers (OES). The OES is the current or a past supplier of
original equipment for a particular part number. These manufacturers
are flagged in our catalog for each part with the following indicator:
The term Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) refers to a company that has
supplied some parts directly to Porsche or BMW for the assembly of their
cars. This manufacturer may not have been the Original Equipment
Supplier (OES) for a particular part, but now offers an exact-fit
replacement part. Example: Textar has manufactured brake pads for both
Porsche and BMW over the years for use in the cars as they are assembled on
the line in Germany. However, Textar may not have been an original
supplier of brake pads for a 1992 E36 318is. In this case they would
be listed in our catalog as an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), but
not the Original Equipment Supplier (OES) for this particular part.
They may have provided other components for this car when it was built (like
emergency brake shoes), but they they were not listed as one of the Original
Equipment Supplier (OES) for this particular part.
What exactly does Genuine mean?
Genuine parts are parts that are
acquired directly from the factory (directly from Porsche, BMW, VW,
Mercedes, etc.), and
actually come delivered in a Porsche or BMW box. These parts are the
exact same ones that you would get if you went to your local Porsche or BMW
dealer and ordered the part over the counter. These parts are
typically much more expensive than their OEM counterparts because you are
paying for the Porsche or BMW name and their associated two-year warranty.
These parts are also sometimes referred to as OE (Original Equipment).
In general, the Genuine parts are the highest quality available, with only
rare exceptions where Porsche and BMW has outsource their production to
non-European countries, and the quality levels have not kept pace with the ones of previous
What is an aftermarket supplier?
An aftermarket supplier is a
company that manufactures parts for the cars after they have been sold.
In many cases, aftermarket parts are of higher quality than the OEM or
Genuine parts. Examples of this would be Elephant Racing suspension
components or Rennline accessories. These parts were never sold to the
manufacturer at the time the car was produced in the factory.
Sometimes aftermarket suppliers will manufacture parts that are meant to be
used as direct replacements for OEM or Genuine parts. In many cases,
these aftermarket parts are of equal quality, sold at significant savings.
Pelican has attempted to make the process of deciphering which
aftermarket brands are best by assigning a Pelican Quality Rating to each
one. This allows our customers to make informed decisions when it
comes to purchasing replacement parts.
Why are there multiple manufacturers listed as OEM
suppliers for the same part?
It is important to note that car manufacturers often
contract with multiple suppliers to provide parts for a particular model of
car. This is not only a good business practice, but it's also often a
requirement for various quality certification programs (like ISO 9000). Car
manufacturers will often substitute one brand for another when there is a
disruption to their supply chain. For example, there have been many
different types of brake rotor suppliers for Porsche over the years.
Depending upon the current conditions of the supply chain when the car was
manufactured, it may have originally come with one brand or another (ATE, Balo, and/or Zimmerman were all interchangeable).
If I order an OEM part,
will be be *exactly* like the Genuine one?
OEM parts are designed to be
functionally equivalent to the Genuine (OE) ones. In some cases, the
OEM part will be exactly like the Genuine with no visual or performance
differences. In some cases, there may be slight cosmetic differences.
For example, Porsche has recently trademarked their part numbering system,
so many non-Genuine parts now do not have any part numbers listed on them.
The parts are the same, typically made in the same factory, but one has part
numbers and the other one doesn't. In some cases, if you purchase a
part from the dealer, you will get a part that is NOS (New Old Stock).
This is a part that was manufactured a long time ago, and has been sitting
on a shelf in Germany for many years. In this case, the NOS Genuine
part may have slight cosmetic differences from the newer OEM parts, but
performance and functionality should be exactly the same. With some
parts, particularly ones with rubber seals, purchasing an older NOS part is
not necessarily a good thing - some parts have a definitive shelf
life, and the longer they sit, the more they may dry out or deteriorate.
I ordered an OEM or Genuine part and it says it's made
in Asia. What's up with that?
With today's global economy, a lot
of OEM and Genuine suppliers are manufacturing parts for the cars all over
the world - both for the aftermarket (like the parts that we sell), and for
the original cars themselves. Bosch, for example, has shifted a large
portion of its manufacturing to Asia in an attempt to reduce the costs
associated with the high cost of German labor. In many cases, it may not be
possible to get a particular part manufactured in Germany, because so
much of the production of the "German" cars and parts is done outside of
I ordered one brand and it came in a box with another
brand listed on the outside, but the part inside was the brand I ordered?
There has been a lot of
consolidation in the auto parts industry lately. The result is that
many different brands are owned by the same parent company, and are in fact
the same exact product, sold under different labels. For example, TMD
Friction now owns the brands Textar, Pagid, and Mintex. So, it's
possible that you might order Textar pads and have them arrive in a Pagid
box. Or order Mintex pads, and have Pagid pads inside the Mintex box.
It can be very confusing, but the bottom-line is that the product that is in
the box is indeed the product that you ordered - it may just be branded
What is a dealer-only part?
All dealer-only parts are Genuine
parts. However, at Pelican, the actual term dealer-only doesn't
really apply to us. That is because Pelican has close alliances with
both the BMW and Porsche factory dealer network. Any part that is
listed as available from Porsche or BMW, we can obtain. Sometimes
these parts have to be special ordered from Germany because Porsche or BMW
do not have any located within the United States. If we can't get the
part, then chances are, it's not available anywhere in the US.
The exception to this is if a local dealer happens to have an extra one
stuffed on a shelf in the back room somewhere that has been sitting there
for quite some time.