In late 2020, Schaeffler, the global original equipment (OE) component and system manufacturer, introduced a steering & suspension range under its FAG brand. The aim was to provide the aftermarket with a compelling alternative to other OE quality products, by incorporating unique technical features alongside the company’s customer service and support. So, a year on, what’s been the response?
“Fantastic!” replied Schaeffler Sales & Marketing Director, Matt Selby. “Steering & suspension components are obviously safety critical, so as with every other Schaeffler product, quality is always our first concern.
“As a technical partner of vehicle manufacturers around the world, as well as a leading innovator with more than 130 years of chassis expertise, FAG has an uncompromising approach to quality. As a result, every single component in the range has been approved by Schaeffler’s own engineers, using the most stringent testing standards, right down to the last nut, bolt and washer. This unwavering attention to detail has clearly inspired garage owners and mechanics, as it allows them to have complete confidence in the quality of every part in the steering & suspension range.”
“OE know-how and engineering excellence”
Designed for all key applications in the European car parc, the market-oriented range follows Schaeffler’s philosophy of providing installers with a complete repair solution. This means that as well as being manufactured to the company’s OE quality standards, every component comes complete with all ancillaries – nuts, bolts, washers and clips etc – so technicians can complete a safe and professional repair from the contents of just one box.
Drawing upon its chassis expertise, Schaeffler said it used its OE know-how and engineering excellence to create the range, which provides professional installers with a genuine, premium quality option.
The FAG range benefits from Schaeffler’s “intelligent repair solution ethos”, which means the company’s product engineers demand the highest material standards and manufacturing specifications to ensure consistent quality. As a result, ball pins are nitride treated to maximise longevity, whilst all exterior surfaces boast zinc flake coating technology to resist corrosion. They are further protected by clear thermoplastic polyurethane boots with a micro-sealing lip design that adapts perfectly to the ball contour. As well as being unique to the UK market, they are also highly resistant to liquids and mechanical loading, whilst the transparent material allows the mechanic to see the quality and quantity of the grease inside.
Plenty left to be accomplished
The final word comes from Schaeffler Sales & Marketing Director, Matt Selby, who explained why there’s still lots of work to do: “We are really pleased that the number of stockists is growing, but the range is not yet stocked by every Schaeffler distributor, so we encourage more factors to get involved with the programme.
“If a garage owner is reading this article and is keen to try FAG, but their local motor factor does not have it on the shelf, they can still ask them to order the parts that are needed direct from the Schaeffler warehouse on an overnight service, which will allow the garage to fit the highly engineered part they want, and the factor to realise the obvious demand from installers.”
The motor factor view
What have distributors made of the range so far? Matt Selby replied: “BMF in Leeds was the first distributor to put a stock pack on their shelves. From the very beginning they were impressed by all aspects of the offer, from the unique technical features and the packaging quality to the marketoriented range and the fact that all the OE ancillary components needed for a professional installation are included in the box.”
BMF Director, Mohammed Riaz, said: “We were proud and pleased to be the first distributor of FAG steering & suspension components in the UK.
“It was an easy decision to make, as you can see the quality in every part, which are all packed in smart, strong cartons, and the support we’ve had from the Schaeffler team is second to none.
“The feedback from our garage customers has been overwhelmingly positive, which has simply confirmed that we made the right decision by choosing to stock a premium range from an already trusted supplier.”
The workshop view
“Well, the early signs looked very good when we introduced a steering & suspension module to our online tea-break training sessions, where it became obvious that the FAG range was one that technicians were keen to get their hands on and install,” Matt Selby explained.
“Now that the distribution level continues to grow, more workshops are getting the chance to fit the products, and technicians and workshop owners around the country are coming back to us with glowing reports.”
Matt Wiseman, of Wiseman Motor Services, added: “FAG gives us the confidence that when we open the box, we will have all the components required to complete the job first time, and that the part we are fitting will meet or exceed the quality of the part being removed – with no downtime waiting for a nut or bolt to arrive.”