If you really want to buy parts or have your car serviced at a dealer but don't really care if the name on the sign matches the one on your grille, Ford has a new line of parts for you. (Assuming you don't drive a Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, or Merkur already.) The new Omnicraft-branded parts will be available for purchase at Ford and Lincoln dealers and those same shops will install them for you if you like. The name is an obvious play on the Motorcraft parts brand, which the company makes for Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury vehicles. Get it? Omni?

The idea isn't exactly new; GM's ACDelco subsidiary sells thousands of parts for GM and non-GM vehicles, and plenty of dealers, especially those with used-car operations, will service anything on four wheels. With that in mind, this won't change much for consumers already going to dealers that sell a different brand than they own, other than the name on the parts box and possibly the markup.

Ford already has about 1,500 parts ready to sell – including brake pads, brake rotors, oil filters, air filters, struts, starters, and alternators – for popular applications, and the plan is to expand the available number to 10,000. So if you have a relatively common vehicle, you should be able to get the filter you need from a Ford parts counter or have its service department handle your oil change. A lot of branded service parts are made by contract manufacturers anyway, so this expansion may have been as easy as putting a different name and SKU on a box.

It's a good business move for Ford, since it opens up a larger piece of the service parts pie to the company. Ford and Lincoln dealers should like it, too, as it gives them an expanded customer base for both service and parts.

As for consumers, we question why someone would pay the premium for dealer service at a dealer that isn't trained for their specific make or model. The only real motivating factor we can see is convenience for those who don't live near their "local" dealer and have a Ford store down the street.

The Omnicraft parts will be available at Ford and Lincoln dealers first, with other Ford parts distributors being added later in the year.

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