Products/developers reportedly pirated by AMS so far:
Companies, organizations, and consumers who support Absolute Motor Specialties, Inc.* are supporting the demise of automotive aftermarket research and development.
* Not to be confused with AMS Performance in Chicago, whose name and stellar reputation has made them a victim of brand piracy.
Who gets hurt by piracy?Some may say that having products copied by cut-rate off-shore manufacturers and sold at reduced cost to consumers is GOOD for business. "Competition lowers the price for everyone!"
In specialty niche markets, however -- such as the market for performance auto parts designed for cars that are old and dwindling in number -- this copying cannibalizes the market. There is no incentive for developers to come up with new ideas when those new ideas will be "stolen."
International patent protection may offer some recourse. But when a customer base is small -- as when it involves owners of cars that are old and dwindling in number -- the patent process may be cost prohibitive to the small businesses whose passion drives product innovation. When added to the costs of research, development, testing, marketing and distribution, the additional costs (in both time and money) of having new products patented internationally may negate their return on investment.
Passion goes only so far. When an inventor's hard work is stolen by pirates, he'll give up hope of recovering his investment, and move on. That stifles innovation by all of the inventors who recognize that market niche as having been ruined by piracy. They'll stay clear of those waters, so to speak. And the paucity of innovation hurts all of the potential customers in that market. Improvements stop. New product ideas are no longer brought to fruition, or shared with fellow enthusiasts.
Why should you care?Although AMS is metastasizing, now selling products for several models of cars, their primary customer base is owners of Nissan Z cars. The Z car community is reknown worldwide as a close-knit, almost family-like group of enthusiasts. They get together to socialize, compare modifications they've made to their cars, and enjoy the performance and good looks that Z cars have to offer.
As an individual car owner, you might not consider yourself a member of this "family." What you do to your personal car is your business, after all, and you can save money by buying pirated parts. That may be your bottom line. If the parts you've purchased are made of inferior metals, if they are not properly calibrated, or subjected to the quality controls normally associated with performance parts, you'll take that risk in trade for saving money. If so, then the decline of the aura once associated with Z car ownership is probably of no concern to you. Your interests are short term, and personal.
However, this stance is not available to companies and organizations purporting to support the Z car community. The long-term damage inflicted by pirates such as Absolute Motor Specialties on the legendary reputation of the Z car, and on the community built up around that legend, is irreparable. By stiffling innovation and product sharing among enthusiasts, pirates relegate the Z car to commodity status. "Here today, gone tomorrow, where's the next market niche we can plunder?"
What can you do to help?
* Notice: This site does not endorse any printing company over another. The link to Imprint.com is just an example of one of many companies able to print buttons.