CAPA Says Survey Questioning Quality of Its Parts Is False - BodyShop Business

CAPA Says Survey Questioning Quality of Its Parts Is False

The Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA) has warned California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger that a survey released in September by the California Autobody Association (CAA) is based on faulty data and that its assertion that CAPA-certified auto body repair parts are not equivalent to OEM parts is false.

In a letter to Schwarzenegger, CAPA Executive Director Jack Gillis said that “the only thing that’s clear from CAA’s survey is that a lot of its members are confused and/or poorly informed” about how to distinguish between CAPA-certified parts and non-certified aftermarket parts.

According to the CAA survey, 49 percent of CAA members reported that 75 percent of CAPA-certified parts they received were not equivalent to OEM parts being replaced in terms of fit, function and finish.

“CAPA exists to protect the public from repairers using poor quality parts and to keep cars repairable in the face of the increasingly high amounts shops charge for basic crash repairs,” Gillis said in releasing the letter. “The fact that the body shop association has chosen to release information that is patently false is preposterous. Their numbers simply don’t add up."

In releasing its survey findings, the CAA quoted an LA Times story in which insurers called A.B 1200 opponents’ concerns about aftermarket parts a “red herring” because the parts are “at least as high in quality as the original parts.” The association had asked its members to send letters to Schwarzenegger encouraging him to veto the bill, which he recently signed into law.

“Rather than acknowledge that many of their own members not only insist on CAPA-certified parts, but have actually worked with CAPA to develop quality certification standards to protect their customers, the association has chosen to obfuscate this important issue with misleading information. By mounting a lobbying campaign to convince Gov. Schwarzenegger to veto A.B. 1200, CAA’s leadership is attempting to ensure that their members use only the most expensive parts possible.”

Gillis added he believes the CAA has shop profits, not consumers’ wallets, in mind.

“While that position may be more profitable for them, it only hurts the already beleaguered California consumer, who is compelled to pay exorbitant charges to fix simple fender-benders,” he said. “Furthermore, it hurts those repairers working hard to keep cars repairable by using high quality alternative parts.”

To demonstrate what it says is the underlying flaw in CAA’s data, CAPA presented the following analysis to Gov. Schwarzenegger:

• Of the roughly 5,500 licensed auto body shops in California, about 1,000, or 18.2 percent, are CAA members.

• CAA’s survey says that 34 percent of its member shops sell less than 10 CAPA parts per month; 40 percent of member shops sell between 10 and 50 parts per month; and 20 percent of member shops sell between 50 and 100 parts per month.

• If these estimates were correct, CAA members would sell approximately 344,400 CAPA-certified parts per year – the midpoint of the range yielded by the survey data.

However, CAPA says this estimated volume is unrealistically high because:

• In 2008, there were 29.1 million vehicles in operation in California – 12.1 percent of the U.S. total.

• According to CAPA’s own proprietary data, 3,144,014 CAPA-certified parts were used throughout the United States in 2008.

• Based upon the R.L. Polk proportions, there were therefore approximately 380,426 CAPA-certified parts used in California in 2008 – by all of California’s 5,500 body shops.

• For CAA’s survey conclusions to be true, one must accept the premise that over 90 percent of all CAPA-certified parts used in California were used by the 18 percent of shops that are members of CAA, and that the remaining 4,500 body shops used an average of only eight CAPA parts each during the entire year.

“It’s evident to anyone familiar with the California auto body repair industry that CAA members do not have a monopoly on the use of CAPA-certified parts,” wrote Gillis. “The California Autobody Association’s estimated level of use is a gross exaggeration.”

“We oppose any effort to compel consumers to patronize shops that use substandard parts,” Gillis added. “CAPA is dedicated to ensuring that consumers and body shops throughout California and the United States can distinguish between high-quality aftermarket parts that bear the CAPA quality seal and those manufactured to less demanding, or no, standards.”

Gillis said CAPA will continue to reach out to CAA, its members and other body shops to educate them on how to recognize CAPA-certified parts.

CAPA will provide copies of its letter to Gov. Schwarzenegger upon request.

More information:

CAA Survey Questions Quality of CAPA-Certified Parts

CAPA Web site

CAA Web site

For more information, visit

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