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ABPA refutes claims that aftermarket parts are unsafe

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March 17, 2011, SECAUCUS, N.J.—The Automotive Body Parts Association (ABPA) responded to recent criticism regarding the quality of aftermarket parts Thursday during the Collision Industry Conference (CIC).

“Data presented by critics in earlier presentations is flawed,” said Eileen Sottile, co-chair of the regulation and legislation committee for the ABPA, in reference to the highly publicized presentations from Ford at recent CIC meetings in Chicago and Las Vegas.

Sottile reports that the ABPA has spent considerable time, money and effort to address claims by OEMs that aftermarket parts are unsafe. “The November 2010 OEM presentation was misleading,” she said.

The ABPA did some testing of its own, she said, with 5 mph and 35 mph crash tests at MGA Research Corp., the same testing facility that OEMs use.

A 5 mph crash test was done on an unidentified Mustang, comparing the performance of an aftermarket bumper reinforcement with an OEM bumper reinforcement.

The aftermarket part absorbed the crash energy with no airbag deployment, Sottile said, claiming the aftermarket part actually outperformed the OEM part in this test.

Paul Massie, powertrain and collision product marketing manager for Ford Motor Co., refuted this test. He says the 5 mph test does not prove anything, as Ford conducted an 8 mph crash test to verify the performance of the aftermarket part, which “deployed airbags when they shouldn’t have deployed.”

The ABPA also reported there was no difference in performance between the aftermarket and OEM parts in the 35 mph crash test. The crush distance was 601 millimeters on both parts.

No occupant loading or sensor performance data has been provided by OEMs showing comprised crashworthiness in high-speed crashes using aftermarket parts, Sottile said.

“Aftermarket parts are safe; there’s never been an injury or fatality that has resulted from the use of an aftermarket part,” Sottile said, noting the aftermarket has been providing parts to the collision industry for 60 years.

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