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Collision forum participants speak out against PartsTrader program

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June 15, 2012—The Automotive Service Association of Arizona (ASA-AZ) last week hosted a town hall meeting to discuss the effect that State Farm Insurance’s online parts bidding and ordering pilot program through PartsTrader could have on both the collision and parts industries.

ASA-AZ said attendees at the meeting—held at the Hilton Airport Hotel in Phoenix—included 109 representatives from collision repair shops, dealership parts departments, recyclers and suppliers in Arizona.

David Priest, parts director for Brown & Brown Chevrolet in Mesa, Ariz., talked about his company's experiences with PartsTrader during the open forum. ASA-AZ said Brown and Brown is the largest General Motors parts distributor in the Southwest region of the country, and sells a large quantity of parts in Tucson, Ariz.—one of the four test markets for State Farm’s program.

Priest said Brown and Brown dropped the PartsTrader program several weeks ago due to the inefficiencies it created for both the company and its collision repair customers.

"We were not able to find any benefit that PartsTrader provided to either our parts department or the shops that we do business with everyday,” Priest said.

“Overwhelmingly, those [who] spoke stated that, in their opinion, insurers should not be involved in any way with the parts purchasing process and to allow this would be bad for both collision repair shops and parts vendors alike. A common sentiment shared was that the relationships and trust between vendors and repairers would not exist under this program,” ASA-AZ said. “Furthermore, nobody seemed to be able to find any benefits for the consumers or repairer other than State Farm and, of course, PartsTrader. Some felt that if PartsTrader is implemented, it is only a matter of time that other aspects of the repair such as paint material purchasing would also be affected.” 

ASA-AZ said it will use feedback from the town hall meeting to issue a position statement that will be taken on behalf of its membership.

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