Meet FCP Euro: Parts Superstore, Pro Race Team and More

Paid article presented by FCP Euro.

 

The folks at FCP Euro didn’t get into this game for the fame and recognition. They did it because it’s in their blood–because Foreign Car Parts is the family business. 

More than three decades after taking over a small brick and mortar parts shop, FCP Euro has grown into a thriving international business that keeps tens of thousands of customers on the road in their European enthusiast cars.

2019 saw FCP Euro add nearly 50 employees, double its inventory, and finish a huge expansion of their warehouse and customer experience center in Milford, Connecticut. 

Not only that, the company went racing in TC America and absolutely dominated proceedings. They also doubled their followers on social media, launched a motorsport documentary on Amazon, hosted thousands of people and cars at their monthly cars and coffee events, and put out a ton of great instructional (and entertaining) videos on YouTube.

Those accomplishments would typically be enough for any company to celebrate, but FCP Euro did all of that in addition to growing their revenue by more than 50%. 

While growing, changing and evolving with the marketplace, FCP Euro has always kept a hands-on approach to the work. When they outgrew their small brick and mortar storefront, they moved to an online model. When the online sales grew to the point where they wanted to be able to provide their customers with first-hand knowledge of the parts they sell, they went racing. They also set up a technical shop to ensure that every employee spent time with dirty hands, getting the same experience as the customer. 

Our mission is to help European car owners have a more enjoyable and enduring ownership experience,” says FCP Euro’s Brand Director Michael Hurczyn. 

He reiterated that so much of the positive experience of owning a premium European car can be soured by the negative experience of overpriced dealers or inexperienced vendors. “What we really wanted to do was to create a sense of community with our customers by bringing in employees that actively participate in the same world,” he continues. “That fosters a level of communication and understanding that isn’t possible otherwise.”

How does a company like this grow to ship hundreds of thousands of packages to happy customers each year? Experience, expertise, dedication to quality, and a whole lot of enthusiasm

Experience

FCP Euro has been serving the automotive community since 1986 but shifted their focus exclusively to the European car community in 2014. 

European vehicles have always held a special place in the hearts of car enthusiasts–indeed, BMW, Porsche and Volkswagen are of a dwindling number of auto manufacturers still offering traditional three-pedal manual gearboxes in enthusiast-centric vehicles–but parts availability at a reasonable cost has always been an issue for owners. As the Euro car market has grown here in the U.S., so too has the need for parts to keep them running right and a company to facilitate such a thing.

Each new customer interaction is a learning opportunity for FCP Euro, and they’ve had millions of chances to learn and adapt.

Expertise

Those years of service bring the expertise necessary to keep customers happy. Having sold a particular part hundreds of times before, FCP Euro’s product specialists can tell you a whole heck of a lot about how the part you’ve ordered fits or which brand best fills your needs.

Typically, European car owners are at the mercy of general-interest parts suppliers, or overpriced dealers, who tend to favor the parts that move through their own service networks. These outlets aren’t always designed around the needs of the independent servicer, or the do-it-yourself enthusiast who wants to keep their car on the road with the best parts at the best value. And while the staff of these general-purpose or dealership may be knowledgeable and professional, their knowledge bases are outside of what the true hardcore enthusiast often seeks. 

Many FCP Euro staff members are enthusiasts themselves. There’s every chance that the person on the other end of the phone, email or web chat recommending a part has installed that part themselves–or can at least walk over to someone who has. 

And that’s in addition to the hundreds of already produced product reviews, project car updates, and installation instruction videos on the FCP Euro YouTube channel. Chances are pretty high that someone in the building has done the exact project you’re tackling in your home garage.

Quality

When an FCP Euro box shows up on your doorstep sporting that familiar blue tape, you can count on the parts inside to be top-notch quality because FCP Euro refuses to sell sub-par components. 

The parts they stock are either OEM bits or ones from those who supply the OEMs. In other words, the parts they sell are the very ones used by the manufacturer to assemble the car or repair it. 

And every part that’s added to the catalog is personally reviewed and inspected by someone knowledgeable in its implementation. If it doesn’t pass the quality sniff test of a competent technician, it’s not going in the catalog. 

And just in case a bunch of words won’t convince you of the quality you can find at FCP Euro, maybe their lifetime replacement guarantee will: Every single part you purchase from FCP Euro–even consumables like brake pads and oil–is guaranteed for the entire time you own that car. They are so confident in the quality of the parts they sell that they’ll send a free replacement if it breaks.

Enthusiasm

During an editorial meeting for this very magazine back in the day, we all came to a conclusion about our readers: You can teach knowledge, but you can’t teach enthusiasm. 

Enthusiasm is one of those elusive qualities that someone either has or they don’t. That’s why it’s so important to know that FCP Euro employees are people who are just flat stoked about cars. Their heads are in the game, living and breathing the parts they sell, because many of them rely on those very same parts to keep their personal cars performing at their peak. 

The same folks who are recommending the parts to keep your car in top shape are the ones you’re paddocking next to at the track day, autocross or road race on the weekends. They’re the ones in the sweet GTI or 3 Series that’s modified just enough so that other enthusiasts know there’s something special about it when they spot it in traffic. And they express that enthusiasm not only in their own rides, but in the development of a championship-winning race team.

“Directly engaging in motorsports was also a great way for us to keep our customers engaged,” explains Hurczyn. “Generally, you only think about buying parts when something breaks. But you think about cool car stuff all the time, and racing was our chance to keep ourselves engaged with our customers, even when they weren’t just placing orders. It was also a chance to challenge ourselves and do something remarkable, and to be able to tell that story brings a lot of credibility.”

What started out a few years ago as an E30-chassis BMW endurance racing effort has exploded in recent years. FCP Euro graduated from racing a vintage Bimmer to running (and winning with) a modern Mercedes-Benz C300. 

That evolved into a partnership with a World Challenge team effort, and eventually to the company running its own two-car TCR Volkswagen GTI team in TC America.

2018 was the team’s first year in the TCR series, and that was all it took to get up to speed against the competition. For the 2019, effort the FCP Euro team won the TC America driver and team championships, as well as the Jim Cook award for sportsmanship and significant promotional contributions to the series. 

FCP Euro’s efforts helped Volkswagen to secure the TC America TCR manufacturers’ championship as well. If you want to see what it was like inside an upstart championship winning effort, check out the team’s docu-series “The Paddock” on Amazon Prime.

“All of this is possible because we have really great people who have bold visions and can execute on plans,” says Hurczyn (who, incidentally, is also the 2019 TC America TCR champion). “It's really not any more complicated than that.”

For FCP Euro, it was more than a matter of racing “improving the breed.” It was a way to involve themselves in more complex and demanding processes, and to take what they learned from their success in motorsport and adapt it to best practices in business. 

Racing is a torture test, not only or parts, but of people and processes. For a race team to succeed, everything from the supply chain to the transportation to the at-event logistics to the post-event analysis of data must operate at a high level. 

Mastering those processes and winning championships has given FCP Euro new insight on operating a business supplying the enthusiast public. 

“The thing about racing, whether you’re a pro team, or going to a local track day, is that timing is critical,” Hurczyn explains. “If you don’t have the parts you need on time, you don’t go on track. And not everyone standing behind a parts counter at a dealership or parts store gets that. Our people do. If someone calls and needs a part for a track day THIS WEEKEND, chances are the person they’re talking to is familiar with that exact same type of pressure.” 

There are tertiary benefits to a motorsports program as well, for a company like FCP Euro. Especially when it comes to vendor relations.  “Not all of our vendors have the capacity to directly market through motorsports,” Hurczyn explains. “So we can provide that conduit for them, and make those relationships. It not only gives us a lot of leverage with our suppliers, but it helps us ensure that the parts we’re recommending to the end users come from companies that are thoroughly vetted by us.”

If you thought FCP Euro had a great 2019, the company is already off to a great 2020 with lots more racing, lots more quality parts, and lots more enthusiasm.

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Comments
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Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
3/26/20 4:08 p.m.

While this is a paid article, and I might have some bias. I have been to their place a few times, I know all these guys, get parts from them and I can tell you, they are the real deal. Real enthusiasts. Care about their customers, their employees and our community. Please give them a try.

If you liked our 318is project car, they were one of the main reasons it happened.

einy
einy HalfDork
3/26/20 5:00 p.m.

Paid article or not, these guys are a great supplier of parts for my GTI.  This has been an uncompensated endorsement !

Shaun
Shaun Dork
3/26/20 5:15 p.m.

My wife and I own a 1995 850 T5R wagon that I wanted complete records for and FCP was enthusiastic about digging into archived electronic receipts going back 15 years to get everything that they had to me.  And in the 15 years of buying parts from them the level of service has been stellar.   So I'm a fan.

Loweguy5
Loweguy5 Reader
3/26/20 10:19 p.m.

Their office is near me in CT.  I took the kids to a Cars and Coffee there and they were genuinely wonderful hosts.  Outgoing and personable, several members of their staff went out of their way to engage children.  What a great way to continue the hobby we love.

landstuhltaylor
landstuhltaylor New Reader
3/29/20 11:55 a.m.

Also a big fan of theirs. I used to almost exclusively use ECS Tuning, but now basically everything I can buy from FCP I do. They get all my maintenance business now for the E46 M3 and TDI Golf.

DuctTape&Bondo
DuctTape&Bondo Dork
3/30/20 12:26 a.m.

Another fan here, ordered quite a bit from them this past year and nothing but praise for the service and value. 

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
3/30/20 8:27 a.m.

Nice to hear guys. I have been to one of their Cars And Coffee too. They have a great turn out, of mostly older European vehicles.

newold_m
newold_m New Reader
3/30/20 8:33 a.m.

I've also been pretty much using FCP euro only for my German car needs. Departed E39 and 987 and now the E90. Excellent selection, pre-assembled kits and their DIY videos have on YouTube are super helpful as well. 

mfennell
mfennell Reader
3/30/20 1:13 p.m.

Huge fan.  When I got my VW, I watched a bunch of videos from a shop in NC and thought "hey, i'll give these guys some business".  Smaller operation where I thought they'd be responsive and offer good tech and I, good customer that I am, would even pay a little more for things I could find cheaper elsewhere.   Things are fine when you order something via the web site but good luck getting any response to email inquiries - even those trying to give them money.  "Hey, you offer strut X but don't have the part number I need on the site.  How do I buy it from you?"  I bought my tuning software from them.  "Hey, I want to upgrade - can you take the order?"  Crickets.  I guess business is too good?

So I just went back to FCP.  Less expensive and stuff arrives all but instantly to central NJ.

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