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Crash Parts Controversy Makes USA Today

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A conflict brewing in the collision repair industry all year has garnered national attention through an article in USA Today. The newspaper reported last week that Ford has raised concerns over the quality of non-OEM crash parts, specifically bumper reinforcements.

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The article cited presentations given by Toby Chess in which a non-OEM bumper reinforcement is sawed through while the OEM reinforcement can’t be cut. After seeing Chess’s tests, Ford compared aftermarket bumper beams, bumper isolators, bumper
brackets and radiator supports made for 2005 to 2009 Mustangs and 2004
to 2007 F-150 trucks and determined that some of the non-OEM parts were made
from plastic instead of steel or magnesium, USA Today reported.

"We were surprised at the gap between original manufacturer equipment and aftermarket parts," said Mike Warwood, parts marketing manager for Ford, told USA Today. "It’s bigger than we anticipated."

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Ford said in the article that insurance companies often pressure consumers to use the lower-priced aftermarket parts in collision repairs. The automaker said it will push for a review and standardization of aftermarket parts and for consumer warnings when non-OEM parts are installed on vehicles.

David Snyder, vice president and associate general counsel of the American Insurance Association, noted that not all insurance companies require the use of aftermarket parts but defended their use.

"The principal motive is to have safe parts, but also to avoid monopoly pricing by the automakers and to offer lower repair costs to the consumer," Snyder said.

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