Following the conclusion of the International Autobody Congress & Exposition (NACE), the Quality Parts Coalition (QPC) announced MAACO Franchising, Inc. is the newest member of the group that says it’s dedicated to preserving consumer choice and competition in the automotive aftermarket.
MAACO joins QPC as it moves closer to advancing the “Access to Repair Parts Act” (H.R. 3059/S.1368), legislation that would provide an exception from infringement of U.S. design patents for certain component parts used to repair other articles of manufacture.
MAACO says this legislation is important to repairers and consumers and will help maintain a “healthy automotive aftermarket.” With nearly 500 collision repair locations across North America, MAACO provides auto paint and collision repair services for more than 12,000 vehicles a week, close to 600,000 a year. By offering alternative collision repair parts, MAACO says it ensures that its customers have a choice in how their vehicles are repaired, which the company says is especially important for the many MAACO customers who pay for repairs out-of-pocket.
OEMs, the QPC claims, are pursuing a strategy to block competition on crash parts, such as bumpers, fenders and hoods by obtaining design patents on these individual parts. QPC believes this could greatly increase parts prices.
“The QPC is fighting to preserve the ability of companies like MAACO to offer their customers a low-cost, quality option,” said David Lapps, president and COO of MAACO Franchising, Inc. “At MAACO, we service more vehicles than any company in the nation. For the 13 percent of Americans who pay for repairs out-of-pocket, a car company monopoly would be especially devastating.”
“With MAACO lending its support to the Quality Parts Coalition, we are more empowered than ever to ensure passage of the ‘Access to Repair Parts Act,” said Eileen A. Sottile, executive director of the QPC. “At a time when consumers are keeping their vehicles longer, it is incredibly important that we stop any attempt to curb availability of high-quality, low-cost alternative collision repair parts. The increase in expensive collision repair parts could lead to higher insurance premiums for consumers, more vehicles being declared as total losses and ultimately less business for independent repairers.”
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