Exhausts, they’re one of the most replicated aftermarket parts. I’m constantly seeing new brands emerging from seemingly nothing. All of them have flashy names that allude to racing pedigree or technological innovation. A lot of these brands have fancy websites that showcase research data and performance analysis. They speak of high quality manufacturing processes and the use of only the finest materials.
Tonight I came across liteSPEC whose exhaust systems are made exclusively with aerospace grade titanium alloy. Now I could’ve just left the website and moved on, but I decided to stick around and have a closer look.
This is liteSPEC’s Ti.One exhaust for the GDB Impreza. Looks pretty fancy right? Those welds allude to Amuse-style craftsmanship. The funny thing is, the Ti.One is under $1000. Now it’s been a while since I’ve shopped for exhausts, but I’ve never known a decent titanium exhaust to cost under a grand. The website quotes an MSRP of $970, but continues on to offer an “internet discount” of $870. I’ve never known a manufacturer of high-quality racing products to offer an internet discount. This is all sounding a little fishy.
liteSPEC was created by motorsports enthusiasts with the simple idea of developing a superior class of exhaust systems using advanced materials at an affordable price.
Motorsports enthusiasts? Hardly seems like the qualifications necessary to produce an exhaust. I don’t know anything further about liteSPEC, than what I’ve read on their website. If any of you work for liteSPEC or know the owners, by all means speak up. I have my doubts that anyone works there or knows the owners, because they’re most likely based in China.
It’s a funny game that Chinese knockoff brands play. They create a website that hints to the business being based in North America or Japan. It gives the consumer a false sense of quality. Somehow when we hear a product is designed and produced in Japan, it automatically makes it better because it’s JDM. The reality is that although they do a good job of moonlighting, these companies are really based out of Taiwan or Mainland China. One of the easiest ways to spot an impostor is to look at the company’s contact information.
Any legitimate brand would be more than happy to list their addresses and phone numbers. That way customers and dealers know exactly where the products are produced and staff are located. With knockoff brands, 90% of the time, you get nothing more than an e-mail address.
The same holds true for liteSPEC who provide info and sales e-mail addresses. The addresses above are placed next to a picture of a modern office building, further emphasizing the false image of a quality product. Nowhere on liteSPEC’s website does it state where the company is located.
Some of you may think that I’m picking on this brand and I am. Any legitimate brand would be proud of the products they produce. But part of being proud, is being honest. I can visit the website of any major Japanese, North American or European manufacturer and get their phone numbers and directions to their headquarters. In this case it’s a secret because liteSPEC is trying to hide something; whether it’s where they’re actually located, their manufacturing processes, who really knows.
The point that I’m trying to prove here is to educate yourself on what’s out there. Don’t be fooled by fancy websites and slick product photos. In this down economy people buy based on price alone. Usually little else is a consideration and that’s why brands like liteSPEC, are allowed to stay in business. Building a car is about research and learning. If you’re too lazy to know what products are on your car, who made them and where they’re from, then maybe you should’ve chosen a different hobby.