Are my car parts OEM, OES, Genuine, Aftermarket....or what??

Here at MiniMania we take pride in offering the very best part options for your beloved Classic Mini, New MINI, Spridget and Morris Minor. But where do all our parts and accessories come from?

Which is better: OEM, OE, Genuine, Aftermarket?

We understand that it can get a little confusing at times with all the different options out there so let us help you out with a quick lesson that might help you choose the very best product for your car.

LESSON 1:  There Are Really only THREE Distinctions

  • Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) or Original Equipment Suppliers (OES)
  • Genuine or Original Equipment (OE)
  • Aftermarket

LESSON 2:  Quick Definitions Of What Each Classification Mean

Original Equipment Suppliers (OES) and Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM): Essentially the same thing -  refers to parts built by an outside company that initially made the parts for the auto manufacturer.   

Aftermarket: car parts that were never sold to the car manufacturer at the time the car was produced in the factory. 

or Original Equipment (OE): are parts that are acquired directly from the factory

LESSON 3:  What's The Real Differences Between Them All?

OES and OEM Parts and Accessories

It’s important to note that BMW/MINI (as well as almost all other car manufacturers) typically don't make the parts that go into the MINIs but instead, assemble their them from parts made by outside companies. 

So, OEM parts and OES parts are essentially the same thing, they are made by the current or a past part manufacturer of original equipment for a particular part number and they follow the exact specifications outlined by BMW/MINI,  but they just come in different boxes. 

So, OEM refers to a part made by a Car Parts Manufacturer that has supplied some parts directly to BMW/MINI for the assembly of their MINIs while efers to a part made by a Car Parts Manufacturer that has supplied some parts directly to BMW/MINI for the assembly of their MINIs while OES parts are made by the same parts manufacturer and it is an exact-fit replacement part.  (Here's where the different box comes into play.One says BMW/MINI, the other has the part's manufacturer's logo.)

And most often, they are not sold my BMW/MINI Dealers but by the manufacturers themselves to warehouse distributors.

Genuine or OE (Original Equipment) Car Parts


Genuine parts, sometimes referred to as OE (Original Equipment ) parts, are parts that are acquired directly from BMW/MINI and is an component that was installed in your MINI when it first rolled off the assembly line.  All dealer-only parts are Genuine parts.

And to be clear, Genuine parts are the exact same products that you would get if you went to your local car dealer and ordered the part over the counter.  These parts are typically more expensive than OEM parts because you are paying for the brand name.  And in fact, Genuine parts sometimes have to be special ordered from the car manufacturer because there are not any located within the United States.  The exception to this is if a local dealer happens to have an extra one stuffed on a shelf in the back room somewhere that has been sitting there for quite some time.

Aftermarket Parts

An Aftermarket part is from a company that manufactures parts after the MINI has been sold. They were never involved in the MINI's production.  To make an Aftermarket Par, a company will buy the rights to make the part from the car maker. So, aftermarket suppliers will manufacture parts that are meant to be used as direct replacements for OEM or Genuine parts

And the irony  of this is, in many cases, Aftermarket parts are of higher quality than the OEM or Genuine parts.  



When it comes right down to it, it all depends on the part and your pocketbook.  OEM and OES parts are designed to be functionally equivalent to the Genuine (OE) parts sold by BMW/MINI Dealers, so if you need a part that is instrumental in your car’s performance or to comply with a warranty, you may want to go with either the Genuine, OEM or OES parts. 

But remember, Aftermarket parts are made to the car maker's specifications and we doubt if you could really tell them apart for the original parts found in your MINI Cooper.  But the bonus is - they are usually cheaper.  So if cost is an issue, perhaps an Aftermarket part will do. 


Anytime you see a part or accessory on Mini Mania labeled as
Value Priced or Value Line, you're getting an Aftermarket part.   See a complete list of our Value Priced / Value Line Parts.


Parts labeled as  Genuine MINI Parts come from the Original Supplier or from the manufacturer. (go to Mini Mania's OEM Parts article.)