Mechanical forum puts spotlight on parts, information

Jan. 1, 2020
LAS VEGAS ? What's in the box has been a key topic for years in the aftermarket, as has Right to Repair, and industry leaders broached both issues in a pair of forums at Automotive Service Repair Week (ASRW) on Sunday evening.
LAS VEGAS — What's in the box has been a key topic for years in the aftermarket, as has Right to Repair, and industry leaders broached both issues in a pair of forums at Automotive Service Repair Week (ASRW) on Sunday evening.

The first 45-minute forum gave attendees information on parts practices from panelists from manufacturers like Delphi and ACDelco and distributors/retailers like CARQUEST and AutoZone. One issue touched on meeting OEM-specs.

"Whatever is in a Delphi box is what would go in the ACDelco box that we sell to them," says Dave Hobbs, with Delphi. "We don't have various lines of quality. Our quality is tied a lot to the OE customer, because that's our first and biggest customer."

Attendees raised concerns about parts quality control, leading panelists to discuss third-party tests they perform on products returned as bad, explaining that not all parts can be tested, but a good number are.

Chris Chesney, with CARQUEST, says the program group works with suppliers and tracks Alldata information to help both its customers do a better job serving customers and manufacturers make better products.

 

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In addition to the parts quality issue, a second forum took a high-level look at Right to Repair.

"We've come a long way," says Aaron Lowe, with the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA). "I think that Right to Repair has also raised the political pressure on the manufacturers to make information available. I don't think it's perfect, but at least we're moving in the right direction."

Shop owner Dave Lansbury says now the industry needs to work harder on communicating down to the shop level, especially for shops that might not have Internet access.

There is information out there for shops, though, says Charles Territo, with the Alliance of Automotive Manufacturers. But they need to keep in mind that there is a great deal of information that has to be downloaded. "And lots of times with service information, the same information that independent repairers have a hard time finding is the same information our franchise dealers have a hard time finding."

He adds that anti-trust laws and differences in market share have kept the automakers from working together, creating one large place for repair shops to go for information.

The forums were a first for ASRW. A pair of discussions for the collision industry also took place at the same time.

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