Ford recently put out a press release criticizing aftermarket parts without providing documentary evidence to support its supposedly scientific findings. Considering Ford’s often-repeated claims of concern for safety, conspicuously absent was any data illustrating the most important element in comparing aftermarket and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts: occupant injury. Ford also presented absolutely zero crash sensor data to support assertions that the timing of airbag deployment is impacted by the use of aftermarket vehicle replacement parts.
HOUSTON, Dec. 9, 2010 — A recent press release from the Ford Motor Company was notable not for what it said about aftermarket replacement parts that provide safe, high-quality, affordable alternatives to its own parts, but for what was missing from the incomplete engineering analysis done by its in-house team. Ford’s findings were devoid of any qualitative or quantitative information related to occupant injury or variances in the timing of airbags depending on the use of aftermarket or OEM parts.
“This should be an eye opener for all consumers,” declared Eileen A. Sottile, co-chair of the Automotive Body Parts Association Legislation & Regulation Committee. “The car companies will shamelessly attack the aftermarket industry and utilize scare tactics to turn consumers away from non-OEM replacement parts. All drivers should be aware that aftermarket parts are often produced by the same manufacturers that supply the car companies and that their safety performance rivals and can even exceed those of OEM parts.”
The Devil is in the Details, or in Some Cases the Lack Thereof
Occupant injury is the most accurate way to gauge discrepancy in the safety delivered by OEM and aftermarket parts, but this criterion was conspicuously absent from Ford’s latest salvo against the industry which has steadily gained market share by providing quality parts that typically sell for 25-60 percent less than their OEM counterparts.
Since aftermarket parts became available to consumers 60 years ago, the ABPA is unaware of even a single recorded instance of a fatality or injury caused by the use of an aftermarket part. This holds true despite the fact that aftermarket components have been installed on tens of millions of cars and light trucks all across America. Learn more about the benefits of aftermarket parts at www.qualitysafetychoice.com.
Ford Makes Airbag Assertions Without Providing Performance Data
Perhaps the most eye-catching topic broached by Ford in its recent release deals with the timing of airbags and whether they are impacted by the use of aftermarket parts on a vehicle, yet zero data was presented as evidence that the timing is altered.
“Neither in its recent presentation to the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) nor in its latest press release did Ford specify airbag sensor actuation criteria in terms of acceleration, velocity, time or energy,” said Peter Byrne, a principal with Injurytek, a technical and automotive engineering consulting firm with experience in vehicle safety systems. “Credible claims that airbag sensor function will be changed and will impact occupant safety cannot be made without demonstrating how these requirements are affected.”
During the question and answer period at CIC, a highly experienced automotive safety engineer with decades of OEM and tier 1 vehicle development experience and multiple patents under his belt who posed pointed questions to the assembled Ford team apparently touched a raw nerve when he challenged the validity of their findings. His professional qualifications and automotive expertise were angrily called into question before he was summarily cut off by Ford’s representatives.
“Consumers must not be swayed by Ford or other companies attempting to shape the OEM vs. aftermarket debate based on cherry-picked data and unsupported conclusions,” added Sottile. “The aftermarket industry is committed to providing safe, quality parts, despite what the public is being told by car companies with obvious agendas who are relying on contrived studies. With winter around the corner, consumers should be on the lookout for an early snow job.”
About the ABPA
The more than 150 members of the Automotive Body Parts Association (ABPA) occupy more than 415 separate collision parts distribution, bumper sales, recycling facilities and manufacturing plants. Collectively, they are responsible for distributing more than 75 percent of independently produced aftermarket collision replacement parts sold to the collision repair trade. ABPA members warrant the products they sell and endorse the concept of Complete Customer Satisfaction which not only extends to the quality of the product lines but also encompasses product availability, product service, product price and service after the sale. Visit www.autobpa.com.