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What You Didnt Know About Aftermarket Wheels...

Fitment Industries Author | | October 24th, 2018 |

  • - Aftermarket wheels are awesome.
    They look better than pretty much any OEM wheel out there except for a couple two, three. And they're usually lighter, they're faster, they're better made, they're just cooler to look at, and everybody just seems to love them because it allows you to personalize your vehicle. Which is pretty darn neat, but when you actually break it down when it comes down to the difference between OEM and aftermarket wheels, there's, well, not a lot different. You see, there's a few things about aftermarket wheels that a lot of people just don't know and don't understand because the market of aftermarket wheels is kinda like politics.
    - Wrong.
    - You really just don't know what's going on. You only just catch the headlines, and that's how you make your brash oversimplification of an opinion on something, and then at the end of the day you're usually wrong and you look like an idiot on Facebook. But we are here to talk to you about that, because if only there was somebody that was in the wheel game that knew this stuff because they sell wheels, tires and suspension, and they also have a growing, aspiring media channel in hopes that people can learn more stuff about wheel fitment and things like that. If only there was a company that specialized in providing information through video.
    (crickets chirping) Hey guys, it's Alex from Fitment Industries Don't forget to subscribe, and let's get into some things that you probably didn't know about the aftermarket wheel market, market. Squared. So the first thing that you may not know about the aftermarket wheel market is that if you have cast wheels, they are likely made overseas, probably in China. That's gonna be 80 to 85% of what we would say most of your cast wheels are made, but here's the kicker. If you have cast wheels, and you're talking smack about another aftermarket wheel company that also produces cast wheels, there's a pretty good chance that they're made in the same exact factory. You see, when you have an aspiring brand new wheel company and they wanna go out, they wanna change the world, they wanna make some aftermarket wheels and they wanna be cool about it and they wanna just make the wheels and do the thing. They ultimately don't have enough purchasing power to pretty much get in anywhere. You have to remember that overseas, every single factory wants to produce OEM wheels, and that is really what they specialize in. But they'll fill in random quarters with other people's wheels if they, well, if they want to. So when it comes down to making aftermarket wheels and you're a new guy on the block, the chances of you getting into a factory are pretty much zero percent. So what you have to do is you have to partner with other small companies to get into these factories for buy-ins. You're ultimately producing maybe only 5,000 wheels a quarter and the other company is producing 5,000 wheels a quarter and you multiply that by six companies and you finally have a good enough buy-in and a good enough price point to all go in and to all make your wheels with the molds that they have to produce. At the end of the day, the companies that are partnering with each other to essentially get into the factory almost always are in direct competition of each other once they hit the actual public market. So you'd be surprise at the amount of wheels that come out of one factory can end up being seven or eight different wheel companies that are making their cast wheels at that same place. Murica, freedom, everything of the land of the free and the home of the brave makes everybody wanna believe that everything needs to be made in the USA. Therefore, because of that, anything made overseas is absolute trash. And, I mean, like, there are some things about that that are true, but the whole made in America thing has become such a marketing ploy that really it doesn't actually mean if it's better. It just means that it was made here, and a lot of times people will finagle their way around it. Really what I'm trying to say is that naturally a lot of people in the automotive market believe that anything made out of the USA is trash. Especially when you consider wheels made in China or Taiwan or Japan or things like that.

    People automatically associate entry-level wheels to be absolute garbage, but what they don't remember is that a lot of American-made wheels actually really aren't that good. Especially when you consider the truck wheel community, which our boys over at Custom Offsets could probably tell you a whole bunch of stuff about. But actually, American-made wheels have had a slew of problems. They're absolutely littered with things that were wrong when they made the wheels. Whether that was orange peel, whether that was powder coat or paint, whether that was finish, whether that was size or weight problems and things like that that really, when you think about it, overseas have never really happened. A lot of the expertise of making wheels, in fact, is overseas. The brushing that you get on a lot of different vehicles or different wheels just isn't possible here in the USA because of just how expensive and how insane it is if you were to mass produce the wheel. Which, really, when you think about it, in the USA, there's not a lot of companies, if at all, that mass produce wheels for aftermarket priority or aftermarket purposes like here, because people just don't do it. But that doesn't mean that wheels made overseas are bad. In fact, a lot of wheels are made overseas. They have a lot of things that we don't. There's a lot of technology that is behind the wheels that are getting shipped overseas. Now, don't get me wrong, I love to keep jobs in the USA and I'd love to keep all of the money here in the USA because, gosh darn it, I like NFL and PBR and so do you, but at the end of the day, that's just not how the economy works. There's a lot of technology overseas that exists that helps keep things affordable, and also keeps the product worth it. You may notice that there's a lot of wheels coming out that are rotary-forged, which is something that is actually quite expensive in terms of a product to build. But because the of the few factories that produce wheels for a lot of different brands has that technology now, it allows you to get a rotary-forged wheel for a fraction of the cost. Now you might be thinking that while multi-piece wheels are made in the USA, so ha ha, I got 'em. They're supplying jobs and paying taxes, just the way my dad told me to do it. That's not really accurate either, because there's a lot of wheels, especially multi-piece wheels, and this is a generalization because we're not gonna throw anybody under the bus and we're not gonna let anybody drive the bus that wants to drive over. It's a weird analogy. But what you wanna know is that multi-piece wheels can kind of be a little bit stretched in terms of what manufacturers want you to believe when you're buying their wheels. You see, that forged block of aluminum is more than likely actually produced and made overseas. And then those are brought into the States, imported into the States where they could be actually stamped into the forged T6061 face and all that sort of stuff, or even then, the outer lips, the inner barrels and the faces sometimes are even produced overseas, and then everything gets brought over to the United States where they're actually polished, cleaned up, painted, and then assembled. And because they're assembled here in the USA, they get to say that they're made in the USA. And unfortunately, a lot of people slip up for that. Manufacturers, you know, they're pretty smart people.

    They kinda know how to make you feel good about buying their product, and then they make you feel bad about buying somebody else's. But that really goes into the multi-piece wheel thing as a whole because a lot of people believe that multi-piece wheels are the Holy Grail of the world. And they are probably one of the coolest wheels you can buy right now, but don't be fooled, especially with what wheel manufacturers want you to believe. Multi-piece wheels for today's day and age, and out in today's world really have only one purpose, and that is form. They really have absolutely no function. Which goes into the next thing. I mean, multi-piece wheels, if you've ever looked at 'em, if you've ever lifted them up, especially in 18 or 19 by 11-and-a-half, they are extremely heavy wheels. Don't let the T6061 fool you by thinking that they're lightweight because they're forged. They're really not. A lot of times that outer lip and the hardware and the barrel actually add a ton of weight. The silicon doesn't help at all, and by the time you're all said and done, you're often with a heavier wheel than a rotary forge counterpart. Especially, well, all the time. Pretty much anytime that you're getting a forged or a rotary forged wheel, you're probably gonna have a lot less weight and you're gonna have more function out of something like forged monoblock, which is actually something RSR is doing with their 901 to the 903 series. Now, if you like multi-piece wheels and you're not a fan of forged one-piece or rotary forged, that's cool. And I dig it because there's a lot of people out there that wanna run those multi-piece wheels and I think they look absolutely killer. But just don't try to, don't, they serve a purpose; they don't serve all purposes. And probably the most depressing thing in this already somewhat kind of down and out video is that when aftermarket wheel companies, they talk about all the stuff that they're making; they talk about all the cool aftermarket wheels that they're making, and everybody gets really excited. Then at the end of the day, after SEMA comes out, everybody's stoked, and they introduce like one wheel. And you're like, pfft, why? It's the same reason that everybody goes out to these trade shows and makes these super cool, fancy S