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Aftermarket Crash Parts Debate Heats Up

September 15, 2010

YONKERS, NY - Consumer Reports magazine recommends in its October 2010 issue that readers demand OEM parts -- and reject aftermarket crash parts -- from their insurance companies after an accident. This is the latest development in the ongoing debate over the safety of aftermarket crash parts. 

The magazine asserted: "Don't let your insurance company pressure you into using aftermarket collision-repair body parts, especially safety-related ones. If your car has already been repaired, check your invoices or ask your insurer to see whether aftermarket parts were used. If knockoffs were used, demand that they be replaced with original equipment." 

The recommendation is made in a feature article titled, "Save on Car Insurance." In making the recommendation for only OEM parts, the magazine cited a Ford study, a presentation made at the Collision Industry Conference and opinions expressed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. 

In response to the Consumer Reports article, Eileen Sottile of the Auto Body Parts Association issued a statement that the article "sorely missed the mark." 

Sottile said the aftermarket collision parts industry "maintains the highest standards of quality and safety in the parts we provide to the collision repair industry. In doing so, we also ensure that there is an economical parts option available in the marketplace -- a benefit that is extremely important to most Americans, whether they are fixing their own vehicle or having work done by a repair facility." 

Further, Sottile asserted that the magazine's recommendation was based on "egregiously unscientific tests and unwarranted criticism." 

Last month, Honda issued a position statement warning that use of aftermarket crash parts may risk nullifying warranty coverage. In response, the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association filed a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission that alleged Honda's statement was in violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.

The issue has deeply divided several segments of the automotive world: aftermarket parts manufacturers, automakers, auto insurers and body shops. 

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