This question has hounded car owners, lovers and enthusiasts for very long. We decided to throw some light on the subject.
OE parts, also called “genuine parts” refer to a part that came as original equipment on the car when you purchased it. These parts are generally available through your dealer. It’s a common misconception that car makers manufacture the parts they use to build the cars. They do not. Most car makers get independent parts manufacturers to help them design and build the parts used in your car. These parts are then packaged with the car maker’s brand and logo labelled as “Toyota Genuine”, “Honda Genuine”, “Maruti Genuine (MGP)”, “Tata Genuine”, “Hyundai Genuine”, “Skoda Genuine” and so on. Car makers are increasingly merely assembling components procured from thousands of part manufacturers. The parts are however manufactured to the car maker’s specifications of quality and performance.
Some companies like Maruti Suzuki choose to sell their parts beyond their dealer network to ensure that the “genuine” parts are available to independent garages and unaffiliated service centers. Most car makers allow the part manufacturers to sell these parts in the open market through wholesale distributors after a few years of the car production run. This time, they are packaged with the name of the actual manufacturer of the part such as Rane, Mahle, BOSCH, AC Delco, Denso, TVS Brakes, KBX, Luk etc. Parts from a large number of such respected Indian and global manufacturers are available for use in the car service industry. In many developed nations, car makers are also legally bound to sell their “genuine” parts to any buyer. Many of the car models sold in India (e.g. Honda City / Honda Civic, Skoda Octavia, Skoda Laura, Skoda Fabia, Toyota Corolla, Volkswagen Polo, Volkswagen Jetta, Volkswagen Passat) have already been in production in parts of Asia, Europe and the US. So, such markets are additional sources for these high quality parts.
Aftermarket parts are produced by companies other than those contracted by the original car manufacturer. There are many such reputed aftermarket parts manufacturers (e.g. The Affinia Group. Brands: WIX Filters, Raybestos Brakes, NAKATA Steering & Suspension Systems). These companies manufacture parts made to fit and perform as well as the original…and in many cases redesign the part to perform significantly better than the “genuine” part. While these parts are generally produced with the same machinery and materials, they may have minor differences in appearance. Such parts are usually sold significantly cheaper than the “genuine” part.
While it’s true that there are some aftermarket auto parts that do not meet high quality standards of the “genuine” parts, it is incorrect to term all aftermarket parts as inferior in quality. Replacement parts used at CarZ, for example are made by car parts manufacturers that are mandated by high international standards. So long as these aftermarket parts are from trusted sources, they can be used without hesitation…while saving you lots of money!