What does it take to sell a quality American made automotive part from an American auto parts store? That’s a good question and one that is troubling Rick Gelscheit, the owner of Bruin Brake Cables, the last U.S. manufacturer of aftermarket emergency brake cables. It seems that it’s much easier selling to auto parts chains if the return address is overseas or south of the border.
“We sell emergency brake cables that pass a 1,200-foot-pound pressure test virtually every time,” he said. “We give the exact same test to foreign cables and they fail almost nine out of 10 of the time. Yet, if you go to an auto parts store for an emergency brake cable, your only choice is the inferior foreign cable.”
Not long ago, one of the monolithic automotive parts distributors, selling mostly foreign made automotive parts, including emergency brake cables, tried to hire Gelscheit to package foreign cables. Of course, he’d have to sell off all his equipment for making his emergency brake cables. Gelscheit felt like Jimmy Stewart talking to Old Man Potter, the latter with clearly nefarious motives.
When he refused the deal, he was threatened.
“I was told, if I don’t go along, they’ll sell their cables at a loss for as long as it takes to put me out of business,”