Monday, July 20, 2015

Making new Fesler Billet parts

What goes in to making a new billet aluminum part at Fesler Billet? How is the decision made to produce some parts for some cars over other parts for other cars? Let’s take a look at the decision-making process.

Fesler Built has been designing custom parts for the cars it builds for a several years now. Investing in the tools and personnel to make those parts available to the public has been a viable outlet for the company. When the economy tanked in 2008 people weren’t looking to build as many six-figure custom cars but they were looking for a good deal on great parts for the cars they had already.

So, Fesler Billet was created to focus on making more parts for more cars. Judging how many cars of a particular model and year are still on the road, which ones are popular with DIY modifiers and restorers, as well as which parts those individuals are interested in, allowed Fesler to shrewdly produce parts that would fly off the shelves and look great on show cars and personal vehicles alike around the country and the world.

Whereas Fesler used to take a car that happened to come into the shop and try to design many different parts for it, it has become just as useful to ask for suggestions from the public. Clients suggest a part and are asked to send one in for examination. In return, if the part it produced, they will receive a free production part when it is complete.

However, what the public should understand is that the next part of the process can take a great deal of time, even years. Researching the market for a potential product, producing a unique design for the Fesler Billet brand, prototyping and testing samples and then mass testing with a network of people who own the vehicle in question can all take a very long time. The development process alone can take weeks. Fesler employs an engineer full-time to develop and improve part designs.

And that’s not even touching the cost. Developing a part can run into the tens of thousands of dollars and, at the end, there’s only a gamble (well researched, albeit) that the part will sell well. Then, when a new part is produced, it only raises the chances that competitors will design their own part or even reintroduce a previously retired design for the part.

That’s why Carrie Fesler says every time she sees a new hood hinge that looks suspiciously like a Fesler hinge, she laughs. With as many as 36, small, time-consuming parts to make for some applications, hood hinges demand a higher investment, in daily production as well as initial development, relative to other, single-piece parts. Those who want to make a quick buck on their own hinges, she says, are more than welcome to try.

So, next time you see a new Fesler part in the store or in posts from SEMA, keep in mind how much effort goes into bringing that part to market.

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