BUYING FOR A BUYER
WE ARE WAITING FOR YOU!
Parts dealers are fighting for the customer.
Anton Utkin. Photo by Alexander Polunin
Our previous reviews of the capital market of spare parts reminded hymns of open-air trade - not a single store could offer motorists such a variety of parts at reasonable prices. It seemed that soon in every town there will be a patch where enterprising citizens will put hundreds of very necessary pieces of iron and rubber on trays for someone - after all, it’s the private trader who, by some sense he knows only, feels the demand. We were mistaken: in just three years everything has changed dramatically - small markets, especially in economically disadvantaged regions, die off one after another, and trade in the capital takes on a civilized basis.
Today, not only wholesalers go to Moscow for spare parts, but also just motorists from nearby areas. Perhaps, only in the capital you can certainly get the right part, and not only to the “Skodes”, “Koreans” who diluted our fleet, but, strangely enough, to the “Muscovites”, “Volga” and “Tavria”: not a single normal dealer today such a specific product will not be lucky in the province - the demand is scanty.
WE TRADE FOR EVERYONE
So, what will a visiting motorist see in Moscow in 2000? First of all - relatively flat prices for spare parts. There were practically no adventurers left who doubled over an ordinary clutch disc to Samara (they say that someone who has the car hanging on a lift dismantled has no time to look for cheaper …). Now, trading “for everyone” has become more profitable, therefore, when you see the drive you are looking for in a richly decorated store in the center of Moscow, you can take it without a doubt - if the price exceeds the market price, then by a maximum of twenty percent.
Frank marriage, promising the store return of goods and loss of customers, is now a rarity, but "products of simplified technologies", worked out on the principle of "what do you want for that kind of money?" Previously, only at market collapses, and today in reputable stores, it is customary to display the same type of spare parts from different manufacturers on a display window. For example, six “Zhiguli” ball bearings at once: Togliatti, Belorussian, Voronezh, Turkish, Italian and German. Prices sometimes differ a lot, and this impresses the buyer - trade gives a choice.
But today you will not surprise anyone with a huge assortment of parts, so the shops are trying to stand out among competitors in a civilized way - creating “most favored nation treatment” for customers. Well, for example, having arranged a large free parking lot in front of the entrance, where you can leave the car without fear that it will be stolen or touched by a bumper. Or dividing the trading floor into several departments with their sellers and cash desks so that customers do not stand in lines. And they’ll even invent their own, special trading system, hoping that it will attract buyers. For example, Camp offers a certain conveyor in its stores. First, the visitor turns to the consultant - he will tell you what details will fit his car. After that, the client finds spare parts in the windows and writes off their designations from the price tags. Then the call to the cashier, who, having determined by the computer the availability of the necessary parts in the warehouse, knocks out the check. And finally, the last - receiving paid goods from the storekeeper.
The advantages of such an organization for the owners of the store are obvious: a minimum of staff and a constant record of everything that remains in the warehouse, right up to the last nut. But for the buyer, although cheaper, it is not always more convenient. If the store is crowded, you have to defend two or three lines, and sometimes you want to turn the goods around in your hands before buying, but this is impossible.
Who is behind the counter
Recently, competition has forced staff to be carefully selected - because the buyer remembers that particular outlet where he patiently and competently answered questions, or even dissuaded from an unnecessary purchase.
Well-trained staff sells spare parts in Moscow’s largest auto chain, unofficially nicknamed the Big Syndicate. In its largest salons (for example, in Golyanovo, on the Perovsky market and in Medvedkovo), more than two dozen qualified sales clerks can work simultaneously. Many people have adopted the “Syndicate” trading system - it is convenient for both experienced and inexperienced customers. The first one immediately goes to the right department (parts are arranged in groups: to the engine, electrical equipment, brakes, etc.) and, finding the right part in the window, it buys it right there. A novice or “teapot” addresses any of the sellers, he “paves the route”, and, following it, the client types the details on the list of his car mechanic. Quick sellers not only understand at a glance, but also decrypt other people's scribbles.
There are less successful systems, for example, when the buyer performs three actions: writes a receipt from the seller, goes to the cashier to pay for spare parts, and then again to the seller.
However, all this applies only to owners of Russian cars.
A HOW WITH A “NON-SHEN” PRODUCT?
Foreigners are not up to the vagaries - when buying spare parts they have to spend either a lot of money or a lot of time, and sometimes both. Of course, it’s not tricky to squander a couple of hundred dollars - I came to the company service to replace, say, brake pads and they will do everything for you. If the money comes from hard work, you have to buy parts yourself. And the merchants here have their own methods of work. The most popular is the ordering of prepaid parts: minimum hassle and no commercial risk. A rented room with a computer and a telephone, a manager without special automobile knowledge, advertising in a newspaper and … you can get rich. Most of these offices do not even bother to work with dealers of manufacturers, but receive the so-called original spare parts from the warehouses of automobile companies at the highest prices. It’s easy to calculate such lovers of dust-free work - they will ask for the vehicle identification number (which means they trade in the electronic catalog of the company). But if you are interested in the size of the engine or the model of the body, it means that they work with catalogs of specialized companies and can get parts three to four times cheaper than the original ones - it’s worth dealing with them.
But in any case, a prepayment sale is inconvenient: you have to wait several days, or even weeks. Unfortunately, so far few traders can anticipate demand, even those who hold full-fledged stores littered with spare parts for foreign cars. So, let's say, in the famous AKKS stores in Donskoy proezd and Camp on the Simferopol highway, the range of spare parts is huge, and the prices are the lowest, but … if your part was not found there (for example, there were five pieces and everything was taken apart), then the next delivery can be expected for six months.
It is especially annoying for owners of Japanese and American cars: for example, for the Volkswagen there is almost the same abundance as for the Lada, and almost nothing for their cars.
WHAT TO ADVISE?
Owners of domestic cars are most likely to get a completely solid part in the "Big Syndicate" or just in any apparently decent store along the way. If the total amount of upcoming purchases exceeds a thousand rubles, then you can save a hundred or two by going to one of the regional Camps. Finally, if you, as a refueling expert, distinguish normal parts from defective or fake, the most convenient is the market in the South port - there the prices are minimal.
The search for parts for foreign cars begins by phone. The easiest way is if you need something from the "consumables" - a filter, candles, belt, pads, shock absorbers, etc. There are enough dealers of specialized manufacturing companies (Champion, Gates, Saks, etc.) in Moscow. Spare parts for the engines of foreign cars are always there where they are being repaired, for example, at the warehouse of the well-known company "Mechanics" - thousands of items.
If the necessary part could not be found, you will have to order with a prepayment and it is better where they work with Finland - it is cheaper and faster. By the way, recently it has become the norm to deceive customers: they say that the item is in stock in Moscow, we will quickly pick it up. The client pays the order and waits for a day, another, third, listening to stories about the illness of the storekeeper, truck breakdown, etc. Parts come, as expected, from abroad, in ten days.