The confusion within the industry related to part-type definitions was evident at the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) held in Palm Springs, CA, in January when a CIC committee walked attendees through a series of multiple-choice questions.
It was a topic raised at the preceding CIC at a time when the California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) was reiterating its rule that all parts must be identified only as new, used, rebuilt, reconditioned, OEM or non-OEM. The BAR has stated that the terms “alt-OE” or “opt-OE” are too unclear or inconsistently used and therefore cannot be listed on customer estimates or invoices in that state without providing additional information about such parts, including what warranty they carry.
To demonstrate the lack of consistency among part types within the industry, Ken Weiss, the new chairman of the CIC “Parts and Materials Committee,” asked the more than 250 people at the Palm Springs meeting whether an OEM part “must come in branded OEM packaging,” and 81 percent of respondents agreed that it did.
But he also asked if that OEM part can be sourced only through one of that OEM’s branded dealers, and only 40 percent agreed that it did. (Most automakers in the past have said OEM parts can only be purchased through one of their dealers.)
Weiss said the nearly 50-50 split over where OEM parts can be sourced is somewhat emblematic of the confusion in the industry and is something the committee hopes to address in the coming year.
The lack of consensus on part-type definitions became even more glaring when Weiss asked CIC attendees in which part category they would put:
• A “surplus OEM part” (65 percent said they would label it “new OEM” while 15 percent said “aftermarket” and 17 percent said “other”)
• A “blemished OEM part” (32 percent said “new OEM,” 20 percent said “used,” 16 percent said “reconditioned,” and 25 percent said “other”)
• An “OEM take-off part or assembly” (56 percent said “used,” while 27 percent said “new OEM”).