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As ‘New’ Original Manufacturer Parts Use Declines, Auto Companies Attack Quality Alternatives

Consumers and environment harmed by groundless attack on recycled automotive parts.

As sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, original equipment parts manufacturers, faced with declining sales, will aimlessly attack quality parts alternatives. The latest campaign comes from Hyundai Motor America, a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Company of Korea. In a July 2010 press release, Hyundai proclaims, “Hyundai does not support the use or re-use of components removed or recycled from an existing collision-damaged vehicle.” Thus, one can infer from their statement that Hyundai does not support the repair and subsequent use back on the road of any vehicle that has been involved in a prior collision.

Unfortunately, automakers and “new” original equipment manufacturers (OEM) have a long history of erecting barriers to further their substantial hold on the vehicle parts replacement market. From withholding essential Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) information on the parts compatibility of various vehicle makes, models and years to the full court negative press campaign on the integrity of recycled parts, automakers stand as a road block to a more robust auto parts recycling network.

According to the most recent Mitchell Repair Collision Data, OEM parts represented “67.9% of all parts dollars specified by Mitchell-equipped estimators. This is yet another decline from previous quarters and reflects a continuing trend.” The steady movement away from new OEM parts has occurred as consumers and the collision repair industry become better educated on the quality part alternatives that are in the marketplace. To put into prospective this trend, the new OEM parts usage for the same report was 74.4% as recently as the second quarter of 2008.
At present, recycled auto parts are competing against a new OEM auto parts industry that command huge marketing and institutional advantages in the collision and mechanical auto repair markets. However, educated consumers embrace “recycled” auto parts usage because of the benefits to the environment along with their substantial consumer savings in reduced repair costs and lower insurance premiums. Not to mention, these quality “green” auto parts meet the performance, safety, fit and durability standards of the new OEM.

Furthermore, Hyundai and countless other automakers tout the quality of their own pre-owned vehicles that contain thousands of used parts. For instance, Hyundai’s website markets its own certified pre-owned vehicle program as a “practical choice” and one that “accomplishes the goals of the value-conscious consumer”.

Evoking a famous line by comedian George Carlin, “If you can’t beat them, arrange to have them beaten.” Regrettably, auto manufacturers are “hammering” their own parts and needlessly trashing the very principles industry founders such as Henry Ford and Ransom Olds pioneered — interchangeable parts. These manufacturers “safety” campaigns are self serving and hypocritical especially when one takes into account that, last year alone, auto manufacturers had to recall some 16.4 million vehicles.

Misleading the American consumer about green auto recycled parts also has serious environmental consequences. Reuse is the most efficient form of recycling. It uses again an existing resource and saves all the original resources and energy that would have to go into making that new part. The carbon dioxide reductions for each recycled part reused is substantial. However, millions of potentially “green” recycled parts remain unused in today’s motor vehicle repair economy wasting millions of countless natural resources in the process.

“One would think that automakers that continue to try to promote themselves as being ‘green’ would have a more progressive view of recycled OEM parts use,” says Automotive Recyclers Association’s (ARA) Chief Executive Officer Michael E. Wilson. Wilson added, “The recovery, reuse, and resale of quality recycled parts must remain readily available to consumers, who may not want or be able to financially afford ‘new’ OEM parts, and require access to these alternative part choice for their vehicle repairs.”

Since 1943, the Automotive Recyclers Association (“ARA”) represents an industry dedicated to the efficient removal and reuse of “green” automotive parts, and the proper recycling of inoperable motor vehicles. ARA represents over 4,500 auto recycling facilities in the United States and fourteen other countries around the world. With programs such as the Certified Automotive Recycler Program (CAR) and other partnerships, ARA members continue to provide consumers with quality, low-cost alternatives for vehicle replacement parts, while preserving our environment for a “greener” tomorrow.

To learn more about the Association, visit ARA’s home page at or call (571) 208-0428.