Wednesday, 18 January 2012 14:19

Organizations Campaign Against Aftermarket Parts Equivalence

In a December 5 letter to California Senators and Assembly Members, representatives of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, The California New Car Dealers Association, the California Autobody Association, and Consumer Attorneys of California, voice their opposition to "Imitation" Aftermarket Crash Parts Legislation. The letter reads:

The above-identified organizations and signatories write to inform you of their collective opposition to legislation that promotes non-OEM (original equipment manufacturer) crash parts as the functional equivalent of OEM parts. [Nonoriginal Equipment Manufacturer (Non-OEM) crash parts are parts made by a party other than the original car manufacturer without the dimensions, design specifications, tolerances or other information known to the original equipment manufacturer.]

Existing law requires insurers that compel consumers to accept non-OEM parts when vehicles are repaired to inform consumers that "imitation" parts will be used and to warrant the "imitation" parts are "of like kind, quality, safety, fit and performance" as OEM parts. For years, the insurance industry and off-shore, aftermarket parts industry have tried to weaken the law so they may compel unsuspecting consumers to accept inferior non-OEM parts.

We support existing law and oppose efforts to weaken it for the following reasons: Existing law promotes disclosure and fair repair practices. Too many non-OEM parts are clearly inferior to OEM parts. For example, see the Bureau of Automotive Repair study on this issue.

Also, Consumer Reports has debunked the argument that aftermarket "tin" parts are comparable to OEM parts. Use of non-OEM parts may impair warranties and reduce the value of used vehicles.

Vehicles are increasingly complex, designed to dissipate crash energy by collapsing as engineered, and rely on multiple sensors to immediately deploy airbags upon contact. The use of "imitation" parts may impair these highly-integrated functions and endanger passengers.

If approached to author legislation to unfairly promote the use of "imitation" crash parts, please contact us. We request the opportunity to discuss this important consumer protection issue with you before introduction.

Curt Augustine, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers

Brian Maas, California New Car Dealers Association

David McClune, California Autobody Association

Nancy Peverini, Consumer Attorneys of California