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Old 12-05-2012, 04:14 AM   #1
annalisa
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ECS brake rotors for BMW: MADE IN …CHINA !!!

Hi folks,

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:

My question:
"Dear Sir/Madam,
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?
Best regards"

ECS answer:
"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.
Rotor Manufacturing
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.
Quality Control
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.
Thank you"

My question:
"Hi,
thanks for the reply.
You mention the GEOMET rotors only. Is this valid also for the 2-piece rotors?
Best regards"

ECS answer:
"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.
Thanks"

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:

My question:
"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.
With regards"

ECS answer:
"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"

My question:
"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?
Best regards"

ECS answer:
"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.

Cheers
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Last edited by annalisa; 12-05-2012 at 05:50 PM.
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Old 12-05-2012, 07:14 AM   #2
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Lots of things are made in China. Probably most of the items you purchase from most retailers. As a retailer and parts designer in this industry I do all I can do make sure that no matter where my parts are produced they are of the highest quality. That can easily be done in China or Taiwan with the correct contacts and practices. Most of the parts I design are made in the US due to production quantities and pricing, but some of my items that are made in larger runs are made in China and I have yet to have a significant quality issue with those parts.

Just my $.02.

Beyond that, one should not use drilled rotors on a street car. Especially ones that are drilled from a blank. There are some that have the holes cast in and those are fine to use as they tend to not develop cracking issues. Drilled rotors created from blanks will almost always have cracks propagating from the holes. For the same look and function but with much longer service life go dimpled.
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Old 12-05-2012, 07:27 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subieworx View Post
Lots of things are made in China..
True, and I have nothing against this in principle. The point is: why not clearly state this with all the other specs? I don't have to discover this by the invoice.
And, honestly, one thing is a "made in China" hi-fi or t-shirt, something else is a "made in China" brake...

Quote:
Originally Posted by subieworx View Post
Beyond that, one should not use drilled rotors on a street car. Especially ones that are drilled from a blank. There are some that have the holes cast in and those are fine to use as they tend to not develop cracking issues. Drilled rotors created from blanks will almost always have cracks propagating from the holes. For the same look and function but with much longer service life go dimpled.
Correct, it is worth repeating this once again. For the application that I had in mind, they would have fitted even with this (big) limitation
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Old 12-05-2012, 07:33 AM   #4
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If you search on the internet a little you might be able to find some supporting information, but I recall reading an article on brake rotors and someone/group did some research and determined that almost every single rotor on the market today, regardless of manufacturer, is sourced from Chinese steel blanks. From there some manufacturers will drill/slot, apply coatings, whatever.

I also had an issue with ECS in the past, fortunately in talking with their customer service they were helpful & understanding and provided me a refund on the defective part. However, I ordered all my CCV/oil separator parts and hoses from them assuming it was all OEM - well some of the hoses were not. I spent hours and hours going back and forth on one hose that just wouldn't fit until finally one of the connector clips broke. The next day I went to the dealer and picked up the OEM part, and in about 10 minutes it snapped right in no problems. So keep that in mind for anyone looking to do the same thing.
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Old 12-05-2012, 07:47 AM   #5
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You really should have asked for the place of manufacture before submitting the order lol... Don't confuse a marketing department with an r&d department - one is always better at spinning stories.
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Old 12-05-2012, 07:53 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThatGuy_JZ View Post
If you search on the internet a little you might be able to find some supporting information, but I recall reading an article on brake rotors and someone/group did some research and determined that almost every single rotor on the market today, regardless of manufacturer, is sourced from Chinese steel blanks. From there some manufacturers will drill/slot, apply coatings, whatever.
Many do this, of course. Many other not.
Lets just take Brembo as example: they have plants also in China, but what they do is having the metal formed, treated and machined there up to the last production step. And all done by direct engineering/supervision by Brembo's people there.
Would you think ECS has resident staff in Shenzhen to perform the quality control on the production line before the shipping to the US? Don't think so...
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Old 12-05-2012, 07:55 AM   #7
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You really should have asked for the place of manufacture before submitting the order lol... Don't confuse a marketing department with an r&d department - one is always better at spinning stories.
Unfortunately for me...totally true! :banghead:
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Old 12-05-2012, 08:10 AM   #8
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Capitalism. This is the way capitalism works; I'm sure you know this. Businesses exist when they make money, and so long as the business practice pursued does not violate any laws, the more money a business can make, the better in my opinion. There is an old saying in the US, it goes like this: What's good for GM is good for the United States. It is simple to understand. As for China, don't be naive about China's manufacturing prowess, many fine electronics and mil spec aircraft parts are contracted from there. Also, laying blame on ECS is not exactly constructive; their business plan universally follows every other business plan when it comes to principles on being profitable. If you want European made rotors, you can simply pay more; it's quite simple.

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Old 12-05-2012, 08:44 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by lucky_doggg7 View Post
If you want European made rotors, you can simply pay more; it's quite simple.
True...I was simply so happy to have found US made rotors...
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Old 12-05-2012, 08:46 AM   #10
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If they clearly stated the parts were manufactured in China, would it have influenced your decision to buy or not buy them? Are you upset they were made in China or are you upset because you feel you were deceived?
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Old 12-05-2012, 09:58 AM   #11
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You caught exactly the point.
The latter.
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Old 12-05-2012, 04:03 PM   #12
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annalisa,

Situation:
· Action: After you purchased and received your order of ECS GEOMET® Rotors and ECS Tuning 2-Piece Rotors you contacted multiple departments here at ECS Tuning asking the same questions concerning specific details regarding our rotor manufacturing.
o Result: ECS Tuning responded to all inquiries in a timely and professional manner.

· Action: You brought to ECS Tuning's attention that you were given incorrect information about the Country of Origin of a product.
o Result: We quickly clarified to you that not all ECS rotors are manufactured in the United States. Additional training has since been performed with our staff to address any further confusion on this topic.

· Action: You contacted our Customer Service department expressing your unhappiness with your purchase.
o Result: Our Customer Service department offered you a refund if you are not satisfied with the product in which you received.
§ Result: You declined and threatened to go on the forums with this information. In our opinion we have nothing to hide so here we are.........
Summary:

We do apologize that the rotors do not meet your Country of Origin expectations but we can assure you that you would be more than pleased with their performance. We sell our rotors all over the world and have received a lot of praise and positive reviews on both their performance and cosmetics



ECS GEOMET® Rotors


Our ECS GEOMET® Rotor blanks are sourced domestically from vendors who have worldwide manufacturing operations. A majority of our rotor blanks originate from Italy, Turkey, Brazil, Asia, Mexico among others, but each part number may have a different country of origin. The rotors are designed in house by our Research & Development department and machine work / GEOMET® coating are preformed to our specification in the United States through our preferred manufacturing partners.



ECS Tuning 2-Piece Rotors


Our ECS Tuning 2-Piece Rotors are engineered by our Research & Development department and manufactured to our specifications in both the United States (95% of our applications) and Taiwan (5% of our applications) depending on the application. We have designed our ECS Tuning 2-Piece rotor line to include the features of a much more expensive multi-piece rotor at an affordable price point. Countless hours of engineering, testing and quality control measures were invested into this product line to ensure the ECS Tuning product goals were accomplished.



Country of Origin of Website

In response to your request that we list the Country of Origin on all products, we will definitely take this suggestion into consideration. However, we are in compliance with all Federal Trade Commission regulations and take this topic very seriously. If any customers would like additional information on the origins of a product, please contact our Sales Department at 800.924.5172.



Any further questions can be directed to us via PM or contact our Customer Service Department at 800.924.5172.



Happy Braking!
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Old 12-05-2012, 04:20 PM   #13
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So being that I have intentions to make a rather large purchase from ECS in the near future, I am concerned about their 'Genuine BMW' tag located next to the parts that are supposedly OEM/genuine.

ECS - what say you? Is this 'Genuine' tag legitimate? Are these parts from BMW? Can anyone else chime in? My only purchases from ECS so far have been a Eurotray & CF vinyl wrap. Very interested in this.

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Old 12-05-2012, 04:24 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Blueandwhite85 View Post
So being that I have intentions to make a rather large purchase from ECS in the near future, I am concerned about their 'Genuine BMW' tag located next to the parts that are supposedly OEM/genuine.

ECS - what say you? Is this 'Genuine' tag legitimate? Are these parts from BMW? Can anyone else chime in? My only purchases from ECS so far have been a Eurotray & CF vinyl wrap. Very interested in this.
All parts labeled as genuine BMW parts come directly from the BMW North America parts network. They are the same exact parts you would get from your BMW dealers parts counter. Parts on the site are labeled with their manufactures tag to make selecting the brands you trust most easy for you.
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Old 12-05-2012, 04:26 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by ECSTuning View Post
All parts labeled as genuine BMW parts come directly from the BMW North America parts network. They are the same exact parts you would get from your BMW dealers parts counter. Parts on the site are labeled with their manufactures tag to make selecting the brands you trust most easy for you.
Appreciate the quick response. That was my assumption, just wanted to double-check.

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Old 12-05-2012, 04:57 PM   #16
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annalisa,
Situation:
• Action: After you purchased and received your order of ECS GEOMET® Rotors and ECS Tuning 2-Piece Rotors you contacted multiple departments here at ECS Tuning asking the same questions concerning specific details regarding our rotor manufacturing.
o Result: ECS Tuning responded to all inquiries in a timely and professional manner.
Absolutely true; the efficiency of your customer service is not under question

Quote:
Originally Posted by ECSTuning View Post
• Action: You brought to ECS Tuning’s attention that you were given incorrect information about the Country of Origin of a product.
o Result: We quickly clarified to you that not all ECS rotors are manufactured in the United States. Additional training has since been performed with our staff to address any further confusion on this topic.
Very good, there is always room for improvement

Quote:
Originally Posted by ECSTuning View Post
• Action: You contacted our Customer Service department expressing your unhappiness with your purchase.
o Result: Our Customer Service department offered you a refund if you are not satisfied with the product in which you received.
§ Result: You declined
To return the set at my own expenses doesn't sound a real solution to me; may I recall that I paid 225 USD for the shipping?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ECSTuning View Post
and threatened to go on the forums with this information. In our opinion we have nothing to hide so here we are….
Not true, dear. The scope is not threaten anybody, but to exchange opinions with other users, inform and being informed. I don't have anything to hide as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ECSTuning View Post
Summary:
We do apologize that the rotors do not meet your Country of Origin expectations but we can assure you that you would be more than pleased with their performance. We sell our rotors all over the world and have received a lot of praise and positive reviews on both their performance and cosmetics
Maybe you missed it, but there isn't a single word here (and elsewhere) about the performance of your rotors. Simply this is not the topic. The issue is the level of information and the quality control.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ECSTuning View Post
ECS GEOMET® Rotors
Our ECS GEOMET® Rotor blanks are sourced domestically from vendors who have worldwide manufacturing operations. A majority of our rotor blanks originate from Italy, Turkey, Brazil, Asia, Mexico among others, but each part number may have a different country of origin. The rotors are designed in house by our Research & Development department and machine work / GEOMET® coating are preformed to our specification in the United States through our preferred manufacturing partners.
ECS Tuning 2-Piece Rotors
Our ECS Tuning 2-Piece Rotors are engineered by our Research & Development department and manufactured to our specifications in both the United States (95% of our applications) and Taiwan (5% of our applications) depending on the application. We have designed our ECS Tuning 2-Piece rotor line to include the features of a much more expensive multi-piece rotor at an affordable price point. Countless hours of engineering, testing and quality control measures were invested into this product line to ensure the ECS Tuning product goals were accomplished.
This is already a bit more specific than what is currently in your description; if you really are going to include what you list in the following lines (Country of Origin of Website), I think this would solve the issue, from my point of view.
Thanks for your contribution, it is always good to have both the points of view in the same place.
Happy machining, drilling and coating...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ECSTuning View Post
Country of Origin of Website
In response to your request that we list the Country of Origin on all products, we will definitely take this suggestion into consideration. However, we are in compliance with all Federal Trade Commission regulations and take this topic very seriously. If any customers would like additional information on the origins of a product, please contact our Sales Department at 800.924.5172.
Any further questions can be directed to us via PM or contact our Customer Service Department at 800.924.5172.
Happy Braking!
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Old 12-05-2012, 05:05 PM   #17
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down with ecs!!
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Old 12-06-2012, 07:10 AM   #18
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Out of pure curiosity, which rules should the brake disks apply to in the Netherlands? I am from the Netherlands too and would like to know. Like have been said, if you were unsure about the quality measures, you really should have asked especially if you pay 200+ USD for shipping. Also why didn't you bought in Germany? Probably even cheaper and closer.
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Old 12-06-2012, 07:21 AM   #19
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Out of pure curiosity, which rules should the brake disks apply to in the Netherlands? I am from the Netherlands too and would like to know. Like have been said, if you were unsure about the quality measures, you really should have asked especially if you pay 200+ USD for shipping. Also why didn't you bought in Germany? Probably even cheaper and closer.
Not sure, I think the TUV applies.

The problem is that I never asked before buying, and I assumed they were made enterely in the states (have a look to their site, is full of "US", "never compromise", "superior performace" and so on). THIS IS MY FAULT AND I CLEARLY ADMITTED IT.
Regarding the European kits, i have to say that many other options are available (e.g., the BMW Performance rotors), but to say the truth no kit offers the same specs/price ratio and is available for both front and rear from the same vendor. Brembo BBK (or similar kits) was not an option due to the cost (in excess of 2500 euro). The favourable exchange ratio USD/EUR had a role, too. And, finally, I've experienced always exceptional results with "made in USA" stuff.
As simple as that.
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Old 12-06-2012, 09:17 AM   #20
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OP,
Thanks for sharing your experience.
Seems like a small case of mislabeling a few of the products' place of origin.
At least the vendor was quick to communicate and hopefully they will tag those products correctly on their website for the future.
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