DENSO has got to be one of the most popular automotive parts brands from the East. This Japanese manufacturer has been in business for a better part of a century, manufacturing all kinds of products for a variety of industries. These days, they are best known for their automotive segment. DENSO is an OEM manufacturer, but they also have a strong aftermarket line. The difference between the two has caused many to ask — is DENSO OEM? 

Today we’ll try to lay this question to rest for good. We’ll go over this company’s history, its philosophy, OEM and aftermarket segment, and more. If you’re wondering if DENSO is a good choice for a part that you plan on installing in your car, keep reading. You’ll have your answer by the time we’re done here. 

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DENSO Electricity Supply Unit – Photo credit: DENSO Press Release

The Toyota Conspiracy 

Ever noticed how just about every major Japanese company that works with auto parts has some ties to Toyota? Aisin is one, and so is DENSO. This company was founded when Nippon Electrical Equipments Co. Ltd. broke off from Toyota motor company in the late ‘40s. They’ve changed the name to NIPPONDENSO and began working on designing modern automotive systems. 

Having a background in auxiliary systems such as pumps and other similar automotive parts, the company sought out knowledge wherever it could find it. Back in those days, only one brand in the world was known for making high-quality fuel pumps and distribution systems — Bosch

The only way to truly stand out was to bring quality control to an unprecedented level

The two entities got in touch, established a line of communication, and began sharing ideas. By the time 1954 rolled about, Bosch and DENSO had a comprehensive technical agreement in place, which has allowed the latter to up their engineering game and bring some of Bosch’s innovative technical solutions to the Japanese automotive industry. 

From that moment forward, things only got better for this company. The leadership of DENSO focused on quality above all. Their engineering was up there with the best, but they knew that the only way to truly stand out was to bring quality control to an unprecedented level, which they did. The company had even received an award for its outstanding QC sometime in the ‘60s. 

Today, Dens remains a force to be reckoned with. The company has since expanded to Australia and the United States, which has allowed them to cover an increasing range of brands, makes, and models. 

Is DENSO OEM, or Aftermarket? 

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DENSO Highly Efficient Heat Pump System – Photo credit: DENSO Press Release

DENSO does both. This company is one of the largest OEM brands in Japan. They make starter motors, fuel pumps, O2 sensors, power steering pumps, radiators, alternators, condensers, you name it. If you buy a Japanese car, especially a Toyota or a Honda product, chances are it will be full of DENSO parts

That being said, DENSO also manufactures a complete line of aftermarket products. We’re talking about parts where car manufacturers weren’t involved in any meaningful way. Is there a difference between DENSO’s OEM and aftermarket segment? There absolutely is. Even DENSO has said it themselves more than once. 

Their aftermarket parts are often made on different machines and are designed in a way that doesn’t conflict with DENSO’s outstanding obligations to various car manufacturers. 

It’s worth mentioning that DENSO’s aftermarket program enjoys one advantage that most other aftermarket manufacturers simply don’t have — DENSO’s experience as a tier-1 OEM.

Yes, their aftermarket segment is backward engineered, but this company has used all of its OEM experience to ensure proper fit and function. Most importantly, their aftermarket segment provides quality this brand is known for worldwide. 

What Brands is DENSO OEM For? 

Although they used to be focused on JDM brands back in the day, DENSO now manufactures OEM parts for just about every major car brand in the world. You can find DENSO OEM parts for Acura, Nissan, BMW, Dodge, Mercedes-Benz, and 28 other brands. Their aftermarket segment covers even more cars. 

The fact that parts for your car are available doesn’t mean they’re always easy to find. The best way to go about sourcing DENSO parts for your car is to shop with trusted online retailers such as and others. If you’re buying your car parts in brick and mortar stores, you’ll have the best chances of finding what you’re looking for in larger chains. 

Can You Trust DENSO? 

Being 25% owned by Toyota and being one of their main OEM suppliers should be enough to inspire trust in this brand. However, as good as DENSO is, it’s not perfect. This company has had a few flops in the past. There was a notable instance of their fuel pumps having an issue in recent model Acuras. However, such cases are merely a speck of dust against a backdrop of an otherwise impeccable track record. At the end of the day, you can trust DENSO to keep your car moving for a long time and keep it reliable. 

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