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FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., 07/22/2010   Hyundai Motor America does not support the use of aftermarket, imitation or recycled collision repair parts.

"A recent test conducted by the Certified Automotive Parts Association shows why it’s important to make sure you get automaker-certified replacement parts after an accident. The video shows a last-generation Ford Fusion front bumper in a 6.1 mph collision, the aftermath, and then another collision using a replacement bumper for the car from a third-party supplier.

The stark difference is due to the plastic materials that make up each bumper. The Ford is a composite of polycarbonate polybutylene terephthalate, or PC/PBT. It’s is a relatively elastic plastic that can deform and bounce back to its original shape. The knock-off is made of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, which is brittle. The knock-off bumper uses a non-spec plastic despite having the words “PC/PBT” disingenuously printed all over it.

The outcome is that the aftermarket bumper will not perform the safety function it was designed to perform — namely, to protect a vehicle from structural damage in a low-speed impact and to cushion the blow to passengers in a high-speed one.

CAPA blames the above incident on a lack of standards in the aftermarket parts business. Non-manufacturer-built replacement parts became popular in the 1980s as auto insurers looked at third-party parts as a relatively cheap way to keep costs down, CAPA says. Some insurers have since then suspended the use of third-party bumper replacements in light of the study."

Wednesday, 11 August 2010 17:33

Nissan Looks to Mexican Exports, U.S. Plants

According to reports made by Bloomberg, Nissan Motor Co. will boost output capacity in Mexico to about 700,000 vehicles a year and may consider increasing exports from the U.S. as the strong yen makes North American production more competitive.

Nissan, Japan’s third-largest carmaker, is spending $600 million to upgrade two Mexican auto plants and is increasing U.S. production as a stronger yen make exports from Japan less profitable. The yen has risen against all the world’s major currencies in 2010 and is up about 5 percent against the U.S. dollar and 14 percent against the euro this year.

Nissan, based in Yokohama, has declined 20 percent this year in Tokyo trading.

The automaker has already moved some production overseas from Japan, citing the nation’s rising currency. The company has begun assembling its new March small car in Thailand and will start making it in Mexico in 2011.

Amica Mutual Ranks Highest among Auto Insurers for an 11th Consecutive Year

After peaking in 2009, overall customer satisfaction with insurance companies has declined significantly in 2010, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 U.S. National Auto Insurance Study released Aug. 3. Overall customer satisfaction averages 777 on a 1,000-point scale, decreasing by 10 points from 20091.

The study measures customer satisfaction with auto insurance companies across five factors: interaction; policy offerings; billing and payment; price; and claims. The decline in overall customer satisfaction in 2010 is largely attributable to declining satisfaction with price, which has decreased by more than 30 index points compared with 2009. At the same time, price has also gained in relative importance as a driver of overall satisfaction.

The study finds the proportion of customers who report experiencing an increase in premiums has increased significantly to 22 percent in 2010, compared with 17 percent in 2009. In addition, six in ten policyholders who have experienced a premium increase indicate they received no advance notice of the change from their insurers.

Glassbytes has reported that a Washington State auto glass shop owner has been charged with three counts of first-degree theft for allegedly billing State Farm Insurance, MetLife and Allstate a total of approximately $1.5 million between September 2005 and December 2009, according to Rich Roesler, a spokesperson for the Washington state insurance commissioner’s office. Prosecutors allege that Michael Alan Perkins, who owns Autoglass Express Inc. and Premier Auto Glass, both of which are based in his home in Burien, Wash., installed generic or aftermarket glass in approximately 4,800 cases, but charged the insurers for OEM product.

Diamond Standard Parts LLC’s front steel bumpers, which are manufactured by Reflexxion Automotive and Production Bumper Stamping, Inc. (PBSI), have become the first automotive aftermarket parts to be certified under NSF International’s new Automotive Aftermarket Parts Certification Program.