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Ford: Aftermarket parts don’t stack up to automaker parts

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July 22, 2010—A comparison study conducted by Ford Motor Co. found that aftermarket parts are often inferior to those made by automakers. The study was reported in a USA Today article.

Ford compared copy radiator supports and bumper beams, isolators and brackets made for 2004 to 2007 F-150 trucks and 2005 to 2009 Mustangs. Typically, replacement parts are made of steel or magnesium; however, Ford found many were made of plastic.

"These are structural parts of the vehicle, and that makes the concern elevated," said Paul Masse, Ford powertrain and collision product marketing manager.

For example, air bag censors are also attached to these parts, he said. The difference in materials could cause air bags to deploy too slowly or unnecessarily.

Another issue is that consumers are often not told when nonstandard parts are used in a repair, according to Richard Steffen, district director for Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif.

"People need to know," he said. "When it comes to safety-oriented parts, we believe they should be told they've got nonfactory parts."

Steffen added that this doesn’t mean only factory parts should be used for repairs, but that standards need to be put in place going forward.

Ford said it will push for some type of standardization and review of aftermarket parts, as well as consumer warnings when nonstandard parts are used during a repair, according to the article.

The findings were presented by Ford representatives Wednesday at the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) in Chicago.  Click the following links to view the official Ford press release_notes, fact sheet and Q&A from the conference presentation.

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