The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Ford: Aftermarket Bumper Beams Absorb Less Crash Energy

November 29, 2010

DEARBORN, MI - In the latest development in the ongoing debate over the safety of aftermarket crash parts, Ford Motor Co. announced that its recent round of low-speed crash tests showed that a commonly used aftermarket bumper beam absorbs less crash energy than the vehicle's original bumper beam or a genuine Ford replacement bumper beam.  

According to Ford, its tests also showed that vehicles with the copy part were more likely to experience unintended airbag deployments during low-speed collisions. 

All of this, Ford said, can lead to higher repair costs when accidents occur. Repair estimates show aftermarket copy bumper beams can more than double the repair costs after even a low-speed accident compared to a genuine Ford replacement bumper beam, according to the automaker. 

"This should be an eye-opener for all consumers. These tests raise more questions about unintended airbag deployments in the event of a future crash," said Paul Massie, Ford powertrain and collision product marketing manager. "They also highlight the dangers of being penny-wise and pound-foolish, as less-expensive copy parts could lead to much higher repair costs down the road. All drivers should be aware that copy parts can compromise both the safety performance and the long-term repair costs of your vehicle." 

In the past year the debate over aftermarket crash parts has heated up, at times pitting different factions of the automotive world against each other. Each of these factions -- automakers, aftermarket parts manufacturers, collision repair centers and auto insurers -- bring a different perspective to the issue. A number of automakers have released public statements advising owners of their vehicles to ensure the use of OEM parts instead of aftermarket replacement parts after a collision. 

Aftermarket crash parts, which are unauthorized by the vehicle manufacturer, are "often constructed with substandard materials in order to be marketed as a cheaper alternative to authorized replacement parts," Ford said. On the other hand, Ford replacement crash parts, including all structural parts, are "identical to those used in new vehicle production and operate seamlessly with the vehicle's safety system." 

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