Wednesday, 25 January 2012 14:13

CA/NV/AZ Automotive Wholesalers Association (CAWA) Delivers Rebuttal to Letter of Opposition to “Imitation” Aftermarket Crash Parts Legislation

The CA/NV/AZ Automotive Wholesalers Association (CAWA) announced their response to a letter of opposition to “imitation” or aftermarket crash parts legislation written by the Alliance of Automotive Manufacturers, CA New Car Dealers Association, California Autobody Association and Consumer Attorneys of CA to CA senators and assembly members on December 5.

The letter sent by these organizations to their senators and assembly members states; “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 “oflike 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-EOM 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.”

The CAWA responded by releasing a statement that reads, in part, “For the first time, in our memories history, the car manufacturers and their new car dealers have joined with the trial lawyers and a sister aftermarket organization, the California Autobody Association, to collectively suggest to legislators that aftermarket replacement parts are inferior, imitation and their use could negatively impact warranties and compromise motorist safety.
“In reviewing the enclosed letter, notice the disparaging remarks about replacement parts, and recall that a legislator does not distinguish, in their minds, between crash or hard parts as manufactured and distributed by the aftermarket. Please know that CAWA will continue to defend the aftermarket’s reputation as a necessary option that is in the public good when it comes to replacement parts and service. We will continue to drive home our quality, availability and competitive advantage with legislators and their staffs through meetings, in district visits to parts stores and warehouses, in our everyday processes of lobbying on behalf of our industry and in our political action funding.
“This new and bolder attack by the car companies and their new car dealers will not go unnoticed and will be challenged with the resources available to us. Rest assured CAWA will continue to promote and protect the interests of the aftermarket industry and your ability to do business in the states we represent. Please contact admin@cawa.org or 800.332.2292, ext. 1 should you have any immediate questions or comments regarding this recent miss-representation of aftermarket parts and service.”

Please see www.cawa.org for more information.