Preface - JT / Sean this isn't directed at you, just a response in general about the company you posted about. This latest piece from them is the latest in copies being brought in from overseas after they identify top sellers in the market (we are not the only target of their work)...
First, to answer the cleaning question about our honeycomb panel:
Literally thousands of our customers have found that just a sponge and some hose-pressure water will clean our honeycomb panel just fine, and it dries with a synthetic chamois without issue (that's how I did it even on our show car). It's not as deep as it looks, that's a visual "trick" we accomplish by alternating finishes on the plastic - the original honeycomb panel of the 70's was actually a little deeper than our piece, but was uniform in finish, making it look a little more shallow. Sean, if you are unhappy with the cleaning of our product, I would ask that you look at the CDC piece (which we do offer), as it is quality made, and is obviously less work to wash, but does not match the front grill work or go towards the retro theme, which is what we were after in our original design.
On the Stack piece.... I really hate to comment on them...but I've had about enough of their blatant actions...so let's air some dirty laundry, shall we? While this might not be the best place to do so, and it might completely derail this thread (mods we can open a new thread about this if needed), I thought it was important to respond to their latest offering head-on:
<RANT MODE ON>
Some facts about Stack:
their products are 100% made in China (evidence on every package plus directly quoted from their sales manager) - that's American jobs and dollars shipping over there with every purchase. Seeing as they (the Chinese govt) just tried to hack Google over the past couple days (http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/01/new-approach-to-china.html
), I can see how giving them more money is such a good thing... Let's not even talk about the trade deficit, the barriers to US products going to China without being knocked-off, Intellectual property rights (movies, music, software, patents, trademarks), etc..
2) It is a direct knock off of our part, with the exception of the honeycomb section, which is how they worked around our US Patent (yes we already checked with our legal guys).
The gating of the part, ejector pin locations, frame and center bevel etc. is all an exact copy - must make it easy if someone else does your R&D on how to make the material flow correctly and fit properly. Check out the original honeycomb thread from 2005
to see what it took to get that all worked out. We had months in R&D to get a good flowing part that fit properly and addressed everyone's requests in a part. Even the water drains and lower tape applications are in the same locations, which is something we worked out to help avoid trouble down the road for customers. For visual reference, look at the back side of their part in photos - 100% identical, which is where the work to make the part happen occurs.
3) Like everything else made over there (like the kid's jewelry with cadmium - AP story from earlier this week since they are checking for lead now - http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100113/ap_on_bi_ge/cadmium_jewelry
) materials are whatever they can find. We use BASF UV stabilized resin & 3M branded foam application tape direct from 3M - what are they using? That 20.00 potentially saved up front will cost if the material is standard ABS and it chalks up in 6 months or the piece just falls off the car. We've got panels out there for 4 years+ now that still look as good as the day they were installed.
4) Go to the Stack website - their physical address (if you can find it - hint 616 Corp. Way Suite 2 #3282 Valley Cottage NY 10989) is the same as one used by a hair products company (Hana
) which is sold by Misikko
(owned by the same parent company that owns American Muscle) , and others. No phone # or direct contact info to be found. Further research will show that it is just a mail forwarding location owned by usamail1.com
, not a real physical address. There is NO STACK RACING in NY. Everything ships from Malvern PA (who else is there, hmm???)
5) Whoever registered their domain name, strangely enough through a third party proxy also registered American Muscle (whois lookup
). Why aren't they up-front about who they are and where they are producing everything? Could it be it doesn't fit their "muscle" name too well? Has anyone ever been to the Stack Racing R&D facility where dimensions are taken from competing products? No? Why not? Does it even exist as a separate entity from their #1 dealer?
6) By comparison, check our address on our contact page, it's a light manufacturing area in central FL near Kennedy Space Center (Google map it and you can do a virtual drive-by even), and customers have been to our location for open houses and visits to see how we make our products right here in the USA, on as much US-sourced equipment and materials as is possible in our industry. Check us out at SEMA, Mustang Week, PRI, and other shows where you can meet with us in person and talk to the people who actually design, make, and finish the products you are looking at.
7) Sorry, but products like this, while increasing choice ever so slightly over what is available, serve only to make small niche US manufacturers think twice before spending the time and money to develop the innovative products in the first place. Nobody wants to spend 80-100k in development just to watch their piece get copied for 1/4 the cost and imported by the container load - it's just not smart business to do so, and will only serve to hamper innovation and new product releases. Looking at their site, you'll see products from CDC, WebElectric, SHR, and others, all copies. They aren't exactly big on innovation, just big on "Cheap Muscle"...
Again, this isn't directed at anyone in particular, so please don't take offense. I just wondered how long it was going to take before the latest copy made its way to the forums as it was released over the holidays... heck, even the pictures used on certain websites are the same to try and make it look like our part=their part. How interesting is that?
We know that being copied is the sincerest form of flattery, but when you have 10x the ad budget to mask the truth about your product's origins and company owners, it would be nice if the companies in question could be a little more original and actually add something to the Mustang aftermarket, rather than just trying to reinvent the wheel that is already there. There are so many original products yet to be developed, if someone had the funding and desire to do so.
Yes, we're upset about it, but at the same time, we're also moving forward with other products to stay one step ahead of things like this. I just want people to know what it is they are supporting with their purchase when they buy something like this, so that when it comes to making a purchasing decision, you have all the facts. Feel free to share these facts with other forums if you find this interesting. If you think it's just a crazed rant, then please ignore it
I sincerely welcome any owner or management of Stack Racing onto public forums to refute any of the facts we have presented here. If we are wrong about anything above, I will personally make a public retraction and apology for any comments that are innacurate. However, trust me when I say, I've done my fair share of homework on this before presenting these facts in public.