Join Date: Dec 2012
My Ride: E82 135i
ECS brake rotors for BMW: MADE IN …CHINA !!!
This is to share my personal experience with the ECS products, and the (not so) little things that you discover only if you buy something from these apparently cool guys in Wadsworth, OH.
Many BMW owners are looking for the same thing: a good set of drilled rotors to replace the stock, boring plain discs. To find something good on the market without going for hyper-expansive BBK kits (like the Brembo racing) or staying on the BMW Performance line (expansive and hard to find for the rear axle), is definitely not an easy task. Surfing the internet I run into the ECS products, and God dammit...they got them! The specs are amazing:
• Front: 2-piece semi-floating construction, anodized Aluminum hats, gray cast iron rings, heat treated, drilled and slotted, directional veins - only $ 450 per pair!
• Rear: drilled and slotted, anti-rust treatment - only $ 136 per pair!
Considering that they are a bolt-on mod, it sounded an exceptional chance to secure a perfect set for a very good price. In addition to this, ECS highlights the high quality of their products with lots of proud: "superior performance", "real world benefits" and "never compromises" are slogans spread all over the range descriptions, and work well in giving you the confidence you are looking for.
Therefore, I bought them.
The surprise arrives when you open the box: you discover that the front pair is manufactured in Taiwan, and the rear in China!!! Have a look to the invoice I have attached if you don't believe me.
Jesus, I live one hundred miles from the German border and I ended up buying Chinese rotors in the US (and paid 200+ Dollars to have them shipped to Europe)! This is not a joke, guys.
After the purchase (unfortunately too late) I immediately contacted the ECS online customer support asking for clarifications; the first answer was totally inconsistent, since they stated that their rotors are manufactured in the US. Have a look to the exchange we had on this first try (attached).
What should I derive from this? At best, not all ECS people seem not to know the true story about the products they sell.
Of course, I didn't stop here. The following is the second run of email exchange with their sales department; as you can see I tried to be gentle but asked very precise questions at the same time:
looking at your brake rotors for my BMW 135i (ES#2550968 and ES#2539490), I noticed that no DOT or TUV approval is mentioned.
Being brake parts very important for vehicle safety, I wonder what quality standard is applied in producing those discs.
Can you please explain where those rotors are manufactured, and what quality check they have to pass before being sold?
"Thank you for your interest for additional information regarding ES#2550968 and ES#2539490.
DOT and TUV approval
All rotors sold by ECS Tuning are compliant with DOT standards.
ECS Tuning GEOMET rotor blanks are sourced domestically from vendors who have worldwide manufacturing operations. Many of the rotor blanks originate from Italy, Turkey, Brazil and Asia but each part number may have a different country of origin. Engineering design, machine work and coating take place in the United States through our preferred manufacturing partners.
ECS Tuning is dedicated to selling safe, reliable and high performing products. For this reason, all ECS Tuning products are subject to a Quality Inspection process to ensure we are selling products that live up to these high expectations.
thanks for the reply.
You mention the GEOMET rotors only. Is this valid also for the 2-piece rotors?
"Correct. This is a valid statement for both GEOMET and the ECS 2-Piece rotor with the exception of the coating. The 2-Piece rotors are not coated as the GEOMET rotors are.
In this second round they admit that rotors arrive from various countries and, funny enough, they list "Asia" instead of being more precise and write down that they buy from China and Taiwan.
I'm sorry guys, but there is no check that you can do in house to replace the quality control that has to be made in the production lines that actually manufacture the rotors. This is done (if ever) in the Chineese or Taiwanese plant. That's it. Then you can perform a very good drilling or a superior coating in the US, but this will be done on a piece of metal which has been possibly subject to uncontrolled heat treatments, uncertain forming and unknown handling; and this piece of metal will take soon the shape of your rotor.
But let's have a look to the third attempt to communicate with them, to show you there is no way to convince them that this information is not the kind of thing you can forget in the product description:
"Dear ECS support,
it is with disappointment that I write this email.
I just received my rotors and discovered that they are manufactured in China and Taiwan; not exactly great for a company which claims "superior performance", "real world benefits" and "never compromises" for its products.
I will do my best to inform the tuners and enthusiast community about this to the maximum extent possible. People should know what you actually sell.
"Thanks for writing. Yes, you are correct that some of our products are manufactured in countries across the world, which should be of no surprise as many companies have products manufactured in countries throughout the world. We will tell our customers where any product is manufactured if he or she asks. If you were concerned with the manufacturing location of the products, we may only recommend that you contact a seller with those inquiries in the future.
If you have any other questions, feel free to ask"
"Dear ECS support,
yes, nowadays outsourcing is normal, and I would not mind if you procure items from countries with a proven record of quality in automotive products like Germany or Italy.
I do mind if your providers are located in China and Taiwan, and it is useless to say why. We are not dealing with spoilers or floor mats. We are talking about semi-floating brakes of a 170+ mph car.
Since you seem to be very confident in what you say, you won't mind if I spread this information around, won't you?
"As we have mentioned before, we will tell any customer where our products are made if he or she asks. If the country of origin was a concern of yours, than you should and could have asked the question prior to submitting the order. If this is that big of a concern for you, than return them for a refund.
Let us know what you want to do. Thanks!"
So, ECS position is very clear: they feel like where the rotors are manufactured is not important, the only relevant thing is where they are machined or coated, and they will disclose this information only upon request. Ah, ah, you prefer not to write "China" or "Taiwan" in your site, eh? If this is not a critical issue, I wonder why not being really transparent and write down all the info the (potential) buyers need to conclude on the product.
Of course, I'm not going to put their rotors on my car, neither to ship them bak to the US at my own expenses (225 USD...), but you can understand my disappointment when discovering that my beloved trust in the quality of the US products and in the commitment of the US customer care has not been confirmed this time.
Only after, I discovered that ECS was known already for selling cheap Chinese-made stuff, especially for Audi and Volkswagen: just google ECS+China, scroll 2 or 3 pages, and you may discover also which are their suppliers in that countries. Unfortunately, I made this search too late.
Take your own conclusions, guys.
From my point of view, the more I buy around, the more I see that the motto "You got what you paid for" is tremendously true.
Last edited by annalisa; 12-05-2012 at 06:50 PM.