Update on Collision Repair PartsPosted 4/4/2007
The Automotive Service Association's Collision Division Operations Committee has turned much of its attention recently to parts. Maybe you've seen the story in the most recent issue of the Collision Division's newsletter, the Collision Repair Report, on General Motors Corp.'s Outlet Shop program. Through the program, GM dealerships sell competitively priced parts. Or maybe you're aware that the Collision Division Operations Committee also has focused on the certification of collision repair parts.
Committee Studies Parts Certification
One of the priorities of ASA's Collision Division Operations Committee is learning more about the certification of collision repair parts. As part of that intent, the committee met last summer in Grand Rapids, Mich., to get an update from Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA) representatives, including an overview of CAPA from Jack Gillis, executive director; an overview of Intertek; a tour of the laboratory; and a tour of the vehicle test fit area. The Intertek/Entela testing facility is used by CAPA for automotive parts testing and certification purposes.
As an information-gathering exercise, the Collision Division Operations Committee asked questions regarding the certification process, the decertification process, the recall process and the role of competitive parts in the marketplace.
The committee welcomes opportunities to gather information, address concerns to collision shops and participate with a focus of the collision repair in mind.
"In addition to being top-quality business leaders in collision repair, it's essential for members of the ASA Collision Division Operations Committee to be engaged, involved and informed," said Denise Caspersen, manager of ASA's Collision Division. "When Bob Anderson, CAPA chairman, invited the committee to tour the Intertek ETL Entela testing facility and question the process, our members volunteered two workdays to better understand the CAPA certification process and express concerns from repairers."
Attendees from ASA headquarters included Ron Pyle, ASA president and chief staff executive, and Caspersen. Collision Division Operations Committee members included Darrell Amberson, AAM; Jerry Burns, AAM; Dan Bailey; Dan Stander; Mike Schoonover; Roy Schnepper; Scott Kallemeyn, AAM; Harry Moppert; and Carroll Proctor. CAPA representatives in attendance were Gillis, Anderson and Jerry Kottschade, CAPA board member.
The ASA Collision Division Operations Committee continues to focus on alternative parts issues through the various activities of its crash parts subcommittee. As an association, ASA supports state disclosure laws that require insurers and auto collision facilities to obtain the express written consent of vehicle owners before installing alternative replacement crash parts. ASA supports disclosure statements that alert consumers that the use of alternative crash parts other than those manufactured by the original equipment manufacturer may have an effect on their warranties or market value.
One Member's View
Speaking on behalf of his own business, Ron Nagy, AAM, said he believes in using certified collision repair parts for his two businesses - Nagy's Body & Frame Shop in Wooster and Doylestown, Ohio.
Nagy recently told AutoInc. that his businesses had been using certified parts for several years. "Although not perfect," he said, "I would hate to think where we would be without certification."
Asked what differences, if any, he found between certified and non-certified parts, he said: "Everything from fit to finish to quality. Also, if you have a problem with the part, you can go to the certification company. If there's accountability involved (such as with certification), your standards will be substantially higher than if you have none."
AutoInc. also asked Nagy: "What would you tell another collision repairer about any concerns or things to watch for in regard to certified parts?" Nagy replied, "Make sure that they receive a certified part when they order one. There is a good process in place to address any problem if you do not receive the certified part that you ordered. Make sure you report the problem. If you don't report the bad part, the shop owner is not helping anyone. Also make sure you ask for certified parts. If there is no demand, no additional parts will be certified."
GM's Dealer Outlet Shop Program
In reporting GM's outlet parts effort, Collision Repair Report pointed out that when collision repairs are necessary, today's customers expect their vehicle's fit and finish to be as flawless as when it left the factory. GM said that's why it now offers a Dealer Outlet Shop program: To help repairers meet this challenge.
GM said outlet shop parts provide the fit and performance of the originals, but are priced competitively. Outlet Shop parts provide an alternative to alternative parts.
These parts, the Collision Repair Report article said, began as original equipment parts and were intended for use in the production of GM cars and trucks. But because they may have minor cosmetic flaws or are not required for planned production needs, they are being made available through the Dealer Outlet Shop program.
These parts are collected, inspected and shipped to qualifying GM Outlet Shop dealers who service local market needs directly. High-volume GM passenger vehicles, trucks and SUVs are now included in the program.
"Consider Outlet Shop parts wherever non-OEM parts have been used in the past. The GM Dealer Outlet Shop provides the performance and quality of the original genuine OEM part at aftermarket competitive prices," said Ronald F. Doerr, GM Service and Parts Operations. "It is a lot like going to a factory outlet center and buying functional, name-brand products rather than settling for a generic, look-alike alternative. It gives the repairer an option that did not exist in the past.
"The GM Outlet Shop helps collision repair facilities because they can access competitively priced, high-performing, OEM-quality parts that fit right the first time - which makes for satisfied craftsmen and a solid financial bottom line. It is good news for customers because their investment is protected with the best collision parts - parts that they know will perform to factory specifications once the vehicle leaves the repair shop," Doerr said. "And, it is good for the environment because these outlet parts can be pressed into service rather than go to a landfill."
How the Program Works
GM inspects all parts for quality that are identified for Outlet Shop sale. The parts must be dimensionally correct, and have only cosmetic flaws. The parts are already primed or painted - no unprimed fascias or raw sheet metal is included. Any part deemed not suitable for the Outlet Shop is scrapped.
GM Outlet Shop parts are placed in protective packaging and inventoried. Qualifying Outlet Shop dealers purchase in truckload quantities and distribute to repairers in their local markets.
The program has grown to 29 GM dealers covering 18 states. As plans to expand the program nationally progress, more assembly plants and more dealers will be added through 2007, making Outlet Shop parts available across the country.
The Insurance Industry
GM is reaching out to insurance companies and local claims adjustors to educate them about the new Outlet Shop, and its ability to provide OEM-quality crash parts that are competitive in price with imitation aftermarket collision parts. Watch for GM Dealer Outlet Shop parts in industry estimating systems as they become more broadly recognized and available in the market.
Collision repair facilities looking for more information on the GM Dealer Outlet Shop program are encouraged to call the Outlet Shop help line at (810) 606-4042.
Web Sites Relating to Collision Parts
To learn more about the products, businesses and organizations mentioned in this article, please visit the following Web sites:
AutoZone Offers Rebates on Parts Purchasing
For those collision repair shops that are also involved in mechanical service, ASA's benefit provider agreement with AutoZone may be of interest. AutoZone offers rebates to ASA members on their commercial parts purchases. For more details, contact the Membership Department at (800) 272-7467, ext. 295.
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