Tuesday, 15 April 2014 22:00

Automotive Recyclers Association CEO Urges OEMs to Supply Crucial Parts Data at 14th International Automobile Recycling Congress

The 14th International Automobile Recycling Congress (IARC) was held at the Hotel Dolce la Hulpe in Brussels, Belgium, March 19–21, 2014. On March 20, Michael Wilson, CEO of the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA), used the forum to discuss the necessity of OEMs providing professional automotive recyclers with access to important OEM parts data.

During his presentation, Wilson called on manufacturers, “To become better economic, environmental, and safety partners by releasing OEM build sheet data to the professional automotive industry’s inventory management entities, just as they do for insurance companies and the collision repair industry…Auto manufacturers have placed major restrictions on the dissemination of this data so that it cannot be integrated into professional automotive recyclers’ inventory management systems, [and] without this important data about the parts that OEMs originally manufactured, professional automotive recyclers are not able to seamlessly integrate their OEM parts inventory into estimating and collision repair platforms, and consumers will have fewer choices when making important decisions about the repair of their vehicles.”

Wilson began his presentation by focusing on the professional automotive recycling industry in the U.S., noting that 2010 saw $285.7 billion in automotive aftermarket sales, which consisted of replacement parts, accessories, lubricants, appearance products, service repairs, and the tools and equipment necessary for these repairs. In the first quarter of 2013, the average age of U.S. vehicles was 11.4 years with over 70 percent of light-duty vehicles being aged seven years or more, an increase from 63.6 percent in the second quarter of 2008.

Emphasizing the importance of access to OEM build sheet and part information, Wilson explained, “Data drives almost every aspect of a professional automotive recycling business [and] provides the backbone to a sustainable business model for these important stewards of the environment.”

Moving on to the topic of data and inventory quality, Wilson stressed the value of automotive recyclers ensuring that their inventories use ARA damage codes and parts grading standards as well as ARA work to establish unified descriptions of recycled parts amongst all parties that sell, buy, and install these parts.

Wilson also highlighted the need for greater integration of automotive recall information from vehicle manufacturers into inventory management systems. “The industry must be provided with safety information that can be automatically synchronized with recycled parts inventory so that important recall and service bulletin information is seamlessly integrated into the inventory management systems used by the automotive recycling industry.”

In discussing the International Dismantling Information System (IDIS) that was developed to meet the legal obligations of the European Union's End of Life Vehicle (ELV) Directive, Wilson recognized the importance of the system, but noted limitations as it only addresses what the auto manufacturers view as their legal obligations under the ELV Directive. "It really only covers the safe de-pollution and where to find hazardous materials with no reference to parts data.”

Wilson also believes that the recent Memorandum of Understanding signed in the U.S. between automakers and other stakeholders involved in the Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair issue, while a significant development, does not go far enough ensuring access to this invaluable vehicle data.

Wilson addressed the negative OEM campaign on the integrity of recycled parts before exploring areas of potential collaboration, including the potential savings for manufacturers on batches of secondary replacement parts as the use of genuine, recycled OEM parts increases, and greater communication on automotive recalls.

In conclusion, Wilson challenged attendees to join efforts to obtain OEM parts data by encouraging the OEMs to partner with professional automotive recyclers who promote reusing the parts originally brought to the market by OEMs.

The 14th IARC also included sessions on the best-available recycling technologies, the European ELV Directive, E-mobility, the recycling capabilities of newly emerging technology, new financial instruments to boost take-back and recycling, and Green Circular Economy and Resource Efficiency.

Key-note speakers included Peter Kronschnabl, president and CEO of BMW Group Belux, Belgium; Professor Duan Weng of Tsinghua University Institute for Energy and Environmental Materials; and Artemis Hatzi-Hull, Green Economy – Waste Management and Recycling Policy Officer of the European Commission DG Environment in Belgium.

Other events on the program included an exhibition and “Tool Box Talks,” commercial presentations focused on the recycling industry.

Attendees also enjoyed a number of interesting tours to leading recycling companies and car manufacturers’ plants, including Toyota Motor Manufacturing in France, Groupe Comet’s ferrous metal recycling plant in Belgium, and ARN’s shredder residue process plant in the Netherlands.

Currently, ARA continues to prepare for the 71st Annual ARA Convention and Expo, which will be held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, TN, October 22–25, 2014.

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