Reinventing the (OE-replica) wheel
By: Vöxx Wheels
Just as the name implies, a “replica” wheel is an aftermarket wheel that is modeled in a highly similar way to an existing original equipment (OE/OEM) wheel – the wheel that comes on a vehicle from the factory.
Typically, replica wheels have design elements resembling an OE wheel, but that have (sometimes subtle) differences in appearance, size, or fitment.
One thing to establish up front before we dive in to this exciting wheel trend: a replica replacement wheel is not an actual original equipment wheel. Actual OE replacement wheels are only produced by automotive manufacturers, and can generally only be purchased used through private parties or on web listings such as eBay or craigslist, through vehicle-specific forums, from junkyards or brand new from a manufacturer dealership.
However, wheels that become replicas are usually popular or trending OE wheel styles found throughout the automotive community. Some of the more popular makes and models that we produce replica versions for include:
- Chrysler 300
- Cadillac Escalade
- Chevy Camaro
- Chevy Silverado
- Dodge Challenger (including Hellcat and Demon-style replica wheels)
- Ford Mustang
- Ford F-150 Raptor
- GMC Denali
Another thing to note: the vehicle manufacturer emblem is not supplied with most replica replacement wheels, but some wheels are designed to accept the original equipment center cap. This allows your set of replica wheels to look as close to stock as possible.
Why is there a demand for Replica Wheels?
If you've ever cracked, bent, curbed or otherwise damaged one of your OE wheels and looked into replacing it through your local dealership, chances are you reconsidered after getting a price quote. Original equipment wheels can be incredibly expensive!
Here's the kicker: a full set of aftermarket wheels can often be purchased for the price of one or two OE replacement wheels from your dealership’s parts department.But cost is only one factor that contributes to the recent demand for replica wheels. The greater driving force behind the replica replacement segment in the wheel industry is the style and performance improvement they offer.
In a way, the wheel industry is a fashion or style business.
This is where Vöxx got its start in the world of replica replacement wheels. Many enthusiasts love the overall styling of their cars or trucks, and are often loyal to a particular vehicle manufacturer and its latest OE wheel styles.
But many also want more aggressive fitment options so that they can equip wider staggered tires with wider section widths or taller tires with beefier sidewalls.
In order to get a wheel that maintains the signature styling cues of the manufacturer while offering a wider footprint, increased diameter, and even additional finish options (compared to what's available through the dealership) going with a set of replica wheels is the easiest and most affordable way to do so.
Examples of replica wheels
When the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat debuted in 2015 it created serious buzz in the enthusiast community – but a big part of the Hellcat’s hype came from its distinct wheel design, which is specific to the Hellcat trim level of the Challenger.
However, at the time its wheels were only offered in one size: 20 x 9.5.
Some of the biggest early gripes among fans and critics were that a 700 horsepower rear-wheel drive vehicle, with its relatively small 275 mm section width rear tires, didn’t have enough rubber on the road to use its power effectively.
Vöxx saw an opportunity to develop some additional size options for the Mopar-specific enthusiast community, and created 20 x 9, 20 x 10.5 and 22 x 9 Hellcat replica wheel sizes.
While SRT owners were thrilled to have the ability to run heavily staggered setups – with up to a 315/35 R20 tire on the rear wheels – a few other happy outcomes came about after we did this. Owners of earlier (2008+) Challenger/Charger base models, as well as SXT and RT trim levels gained the ability to run the latest “top trim” wheel model. The biggest bonus for all Dodge Challenger and Charger drivers was that they were able to maintain the signature OE look of their vehicle overall.
As a result, the Hellcat style has been a strong-selling replica wheel. Today, we see that trend continue with the addition of replica Challenger Hellcat Widebody wheels, as well as Dodge Demon wheels and new Challenger Redeye wheels to our overall Dodge/Mopar replica wheel portfolio.
What's the difference between a replica wheel and an OE wheel?
A good quality replica wheel can be thought of as a recreation, rather than a duplicate. Aside from an obvious color change or size difference, the untrained eye may not immediately notice any physical design difference between a replica replacement wheel and the original equipment piece. Rest assured, there are differences between the two wheels.
Replica wheels are designed and engineered from the ground up by their manufacturers, like any other kind of wheel. The designs are not exact copies of the original – and there will be slight differences in physical features, contours, and measurements. In terms of quality and construction, a good replica wheel should be comparable to its original counterpart.
Believe it or not, some OE wheels are made in the same factories as some aftermarket wheel brands. With the continued evolution of manufacturing technology, in some cases a replica wheel can even be superior to the OE piece.
What sets our replica wheels apart?
Vöxx has been producing original equipment-influenced wheel designs since our inception in 1996. At that time there was a large focus in the European import market, but by the mid 2000’s, our business had grown enough to justify separating “Vöxx Replica” into its own brand.
Since then, trends have come and gone. Today the focus seems to be in the domestic market with popular styles from Ford Performance, GM and SRT. Vöxx has become a strong and sought-after replica wheel supplier within the industry. This can be attributed to our commitment to quality, as Voxx holds the same quality standards for our replica product as any other wheel we produce.
In addition to our high manufacturing standards, Vöxx replica wheels are designed and engineered with the enthusiast in mind. We take the time to ensure the wheels we’re building can accommodate the largest optional brake packages while accepting your OE center cap.
So whether you’re replacing a damaged wheel or just looking to dress up your ride, Voxx’s line of replica replacements have the OE styles you're after – combined with the advantages of an aftermarket wheel.