Motorcycle parts for Europe

David McMullan talks to Stefan Onken from Matthies the legendary auto and motorcycle parts company


   How long have Matthies been in the automotive parts business?

   The company was founded back in 1933 by the father of the current owner and is selling automotive and motorcycle spare parts now for more than 82 years. It’s still a family owned business, now selling approx 150.000 different items for the automotive range and approx 72.000 different items for motorcycle and scooters.


   What are the major countries for Matthies trade?

   Automotive spare parts are sold only within the northern part of Germany as our customers expects delivery within 3 hours. The motorcycle department is active in all over Europe with own branches in Poland, Spain, UK and Italy. From the headquarter based in Hamburg, Germany we are supplying all other European countries.


   What do you think of Chinese motorcycle parts OEM’s? Please tell us about your experiences.

   Our company is sourcing directly from China for more than 10 years and I personally visiting China 4 to 5 times are yea to visit suppliers, attending shows etc. From the European perspective the speed of development, improving quality etc. in China is amazing. In the beginning, 10 years ago, we we sourcing from China because of the low price level. Now we are sourcing from China because of quality, reliability, speed and access to parts.


     Is there anything in particular that you would like to be sourced from China, maybe our readers could help you out?

   We are interesting in all technical parts for motorcycles and scooters, which are on the road in the European market.


   Matthies are very well known as auto part suppliers; please tell our readers something about the motorcycle part division.

   The motorcycle division of Matthies is one of the largest distributors of technical spare parts in Europe. We are supplying to thousand of workshop in Europe daily. We are fully concentrating on technical spare parts and accessories, which includes technical data, service schedules and so on.


   Does it surprise you how many European and Japanese models have a large percentage of their motorcycle parts made in China?

   No, not at all. The motorcycle market is always following the automotive market and many Chinese manufactures became key suppliers in the automotive industry years ago. This trend continued in the motorcycle world as well. With the extremely good infrastructure in China, it’s a very reliable and powerful option.


   What are the most popular parts to sell? Cables? Brake pads? Etc.

   Of course the common product groups are brake pads and disc, batteries, chains & sprockets or filters. But these product groups are available everywhere in the market. Our aim is the provide the full range of technical spare parts, even with not so popular parts.


   Do you attend any of China’s motorcycle trade exhibitions?

   I just returned from the Automechanika Shanghai, which was the 5th visit in 2015 to China. And of course I will visit the bigger shows in 2016 as well.


   What is the future for Matthies? Is Matthies looking to expand in to new markets?

   We will continue to work on the European market and trying to expand our market share even further in Europe.


   Which type of companies are Matthies primary customers?

   Motorcycle shops and motorcycles garages. We do not supply to end consumers.


   Finally, have you ever noticed any Chinese motorcycles in Germany? If so, is there any reaction to them?

   Chinese scooters and ATVs do have a very strong presence in Germany and all over Europe. For motorcycles it’s a bit more difficult, they are mainly sold under a „European“ brand name. But with the power of Chinese motorcycle manufactures is just a question of time.



March 7, 2016