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  #1  
Old 20 Jan 2002
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Location: Abu Dhabi, UAE
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4x4 Accessories - Too Expensive?

Do you feel that you pay a fair price for accessories for your vehicle? In the UAE, we have a local agent system which means that it is illegal for us to buy from the manufacturer direct.

What this means is that the local agent is able to apply huge mark-ups as 'shipping costs' and there is little or nothing we can do about it.

Let me give you a specific example:

I wanted to buy a robust expedition style roof-rack for my SWB Nissan Patrol. I approached the ARB local agent, as they are also the Nissan agent in the UAE (seemed like a sensible place to start) and they quoted me the equivalent of $1,500.00 for this piece of kit. I tried to contact ARB to find out how much they would charge for the same piece of kit in Australia and their helpful answer was to contact their local agent in the UAE.

My question is this:

Is this type of commercial practice common across the world, or are 4x4 accessories really that expensive?

I'd appreciate your thoughts and comments.


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Jon Harbour

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  #2  
Old 21 Jan 2002
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John, that is very expensive indeed. It might be because ARB ships its products first to a warehouse in South Africa and from there to UAE. But I think they’re trying to rob you blind because of the exclusivity thing you’re talking about. What about other rack manufacturers? Are they all that expensive?

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  #3  
Old 21 Jan 2002
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Jon,
In case of ARB this practice is followed across the world. In Europe, there's one company based in Germany, Taubenreuther, who supply dealers in all European countries. If I approached ARB in Australia, they would still refer me to Taubenreuther. This is the way they keep dealers happy and customers squeezed for cash.

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  #4  
Old 21 Jan 2002
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Virtually all of the 'serious' kit is pretty expensive here. It would appear to be a combination of factors:

1. The agency laws of the UAE.

2. The market for such accessories is fairly small here - many people are on short (2-3 Year) contracts with a vehicle provided. No company will fork out for such 'extras' on a company vehicle. An individual who is here for only three years will probably be reluctant to shell out his own money for such kit on his own vehicle. They don't add to the resale value, so there isn't any apparent use in adding them.

You can buy locally made kit, but it basically cheap crap. It doesn't do the job and will bend or break at the first serious use.

There's some possibility of South African equipment, but nobdy seems to make kit for the SWB Patrol. GU

Looks like basically I'm stuffed. I'm almost tempted to get on a plane to Australia, buy the kit there and have it shipped. I suspect it will work out cheaper, including the shipping and my return fare!

Catch you later,

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Jon Harbour

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  #5  
Old 23 Jan 2002
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You could find a master fabricator to make rack from scratch for you. It will be a lot cheaper but it will take some time and you’ll have to check up on the work often. You’ll be able to customize the rack and make your own mounts for the Hi lift, sand mats, jerry cans, etc. If you have access to a tube bender and welder then you can do it yourself that’s what I did.

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  #6  
Old 24 Jan 2002
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Don't count on the prices in Oz being any cheaper, Here in Oz there is a fair bit of price variations, (IMO, a bit of collusion) due to 'shipping' as most of the manufacturers of 4x4 accessories are located in the East Coast and here over in the 'West' we are subject to shipping costs which the Franchisee(s) can and do 'bump' up.

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  #7  
Old 17 May 2002
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Here is a company based in South Africa that make a reel robust and not so expensive roof-rack.
It does seem these suppliers are making a killing (killing us that is)
The local price on a Nissan Patrol is R5000-00 ($450)
If you are lucky they will send you one.
Look here--
http://www.frontrunner.co.za/

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  #8  
Old 18 May 2002
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Location: CT, USA
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Does The UAE impose a tarrif on parts that are imported? That could be another reason the price is artificially high.
It looks like the US price would be around $400-500 for the rack and $200-300 for the vehicle specific mounting kit.
Many companies have protected territories that prevent the main distributor from competing against foreign dealers.
With some work you can usually get around that rule. ARB won't sell you a rack. But they distribute to a hundred retailers who don't care about the territories. The trick is finding a retailer who doesnt mind the hassle of shipping a rack to the UAE.
Get the specifice part #s you want and then start searching discount 4x4 shops.

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Ed Messenger
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