My compulsion towards the parts of the Japanese Domestic Market is not based on a personal assessment of performance superiority. It is about design, quality, and attention to detail. Likely my biggest obsession of the industry, Power House Amuse is quite possibly the superlative of JDM parts. Hardly boring or run-of-the-mill, the products that come out of their facility in Chiba are not simply functional components to be admired momentarily pre-installation only to be forsaken shortly after brusque acknowledgment of any performance benefit or gain. Every Amuse part contains an all-too-real element of genuine automotive artistry.
Convince me that replica companies are comprised of true automotive enthusiasts who maintain a genuine passion and interest in the tuning industry. Accepting the incredulous notion fed to parts consumers that companies selling replica parts are actually contributing to the industry and benefitting the aftermarket has always proven to be a bit of challenge to me, but never more so than recently as I came across a forum vendor thread in which the vendor could not even identify the designs of the replica parts they are selling. First, the vendor advertises "a full lineup of G37 exterior pieces" without including a single picture of any of the parts. Secondly, when a potential customer asks what the "Zelda" front bumper is, the response is that it is a "Zele replica." When other members request pictures, the vendor posts pictures of forum members' cars. Without permission. Not only do they post pictures of cars without permission of the owners, but they post the following pictures:
One does not have to be an expert of all things V36 to realize that the bumpers in those pictures are replica Top Secret bumpers; not a Zele-design bumper as advertised. Furthermore, when the vendor is corrected via a picture posted by a member of an actual Zele front bumper (see below), he responds with, "I am not seeing a difference between the two." Brilliant! Clearly, he is knowledgable and well-educated on the parts he is peddling. The Zele-clad V36 posted by a forum member to correct the ill-informed vendor:
Furthermore, a couple days later, the vendor then re-posted that same picture, advertising it as an actual part they are selling. I happen to know the owner of this car. He follows JDMphasis. The kit featured on the above-pictured G37 is authentic. It is NOT a "Zelda" kit.
There are many who take issue with my pro-authenticity stance as it relates to the tuning industry. They will defend companies that steal designs under the flawed pretext that they are actually "contributing to the industry," that "copying designs is part of business" or that replica companies "open up the market by supplying in-demand designs at affordable prices for the budget-conscious consumer." If these companies actually care about the industry, or the consumer for that matter, and are not simply out to make a quick buck by cashing in on the product of someone else's hard work, then where is the passion? Actually, forget passion for a second. Let's lower the standard to interest. Where is the interest? A basic interest in tuning and modification; an interest in the industry that extends beyond dollar signs. Where is it? When a representative from a company that is a vendor on a forum devoted to one particular automotive platform cannot recognize differences in two bumper designs of that specific car, one cannot help but question the depths to which the devotion, zeal, excitement, passion, and, yes, even interest extend. My position is that there is none. I am not going to believe, for one minute, that replica companies like this one that cannot even recognize the ripped-off designs they are selling are made up of diehard, passionate enthusiasts. Companies like the one in that forum vendor thread do not much care about tuning culture. They do not much care about the consumer. They do not much care about the car. They do not much care about modifying or the aftermarket industry. They do not much care about anything more than putting a dollar in their pocket. I accept that, to some, I come across as haughty or overbearing or arrogant or snotty by way of my strong opinions on this matter, but that is, quite simply, because it means something to me. My position is that these fly-by-night, design-stealing companies do not contribute to the industry in any positive way. These are the companies that actually harm the industry. These are the companies of which all replica-supporters should take note. I understand that business is cutthroat. I truly believe that competition in the marketplace is a good thing. But not if it means undermining the real innovators - not at the expense of the real ingenuity, the real talent, the true pioneers of the industry. These replica companies are the companies that real enthusiasts should refuse to support. These companies do not deserve your money. Caveat emptor.