If you have an imported auto from Europe, don’t settle for inexpensive car mats, or you may end up paying much more than you save.
For every new car or model, there are thousands of aftermarket parts available. Differentiating between quality manufacturers and knock-off operations can be difficult. This is because, while each country has a set of rules governing domestic manufacturing process and distribution, few of them can regulate exported goods to the same standards. That normally leaves consumers reliant on local companies to handle and manage orders or returns. Unfortunately, even when dealing with local businesses, custom orders for import parts can’t always be returned or exchanged. Because of this, some import owners look overseas for custom parts, but it can be difficult to separate good manufacturers from bad.
Fortunately international buyers can simply look for the ISO 9001 standards certification before purchasing. This certification requires a business to focus on quality management, with an emphasis on customers. Due to the effort required in attaining it, it is almost exclusively limited to trustworthy organizations. In fact, many times a manufacturer producing components directly for an auto company, such as Honda or Nissan, will open a subsidiary organization with a separate ISO 9001 certification. This then lets them sell their aftermarket parts with the same quality and standards as the original, but at a fraction of the cost.
Despite the expense often associated with maintaining an import auto, proper care and maintenance can go a long way towards reducing the overall cost. In particular, the easiest ways to maintain the interior of an import is by using quality car mats. However, domestic buyers need to be careful, as the lower number of European imports in the U.S. leads domestic manufacturers to produce car mats with more of a ‘one-size-fits-all’ mentality.
Unfortunately this does not work well with imports, as an improperly fitted car mat allows dirt and debris from the feet of passengers to enter the fibers of the interior carpeting. Over time these grains of dirt coupled with the foot movement and weight of passengers cuts at the fibers until the carpet is destroyed. Such damage is irreparable, and requires replacing the entire interior carpet. Unlike domestic models, replacing the carpeting of certain imports can easily exceed $1,000 for a complete install.
This is why a properly fitted quality car mat is essential to protecting the interior of an import auto. Low quality mats simply do not fit well or offer the same level of protection, and should be avoided. This is particularly true of British and European models, such as Alfa Romeo, MG, Saab, and Triumph. In almost every case, mats that are not specifically designed to fit these models do more harm than good.
By identifying a quality international distributor with the appropriate ISO 9001 certification, the interior of an import can be properly protected while reducing wear and enhancing appearance. This will significantly extend the lifespan of the carpet, and improve future resale value.