AAI Says Results of Latest CAPA Study Show OEM Parts Don’t Make the Grade

July 15, 2002

A recent study of aftermarket auto parts produced by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) has found than many don’t measure up to the quality of their certified generic counterparts, according to the Alliance of American Insurers (AAI).

The study’s findings come from a comprehensive vehicle fit test conducted by the Certified Automotive Parts Association. CAPA certification identifies those generic parts that meet certain high quality standards for fit, form, finish, material content and corrosion resistance.

Their latest study, however, focuses on OEM parts. Between March 1999 and March 2002, CAPA put 1,907 car company parts through an extensive fit test and discovered that 50 percent (954 parts) didn’t meet CAPA standards for fit, finish and appearance.

“For years defenders of so-called ‘genuine’ replacement auto parts have touted their supposed superior quality over certified generic replacement parts,” Kirk Hansen, director of claims for the Alliance of American Insurers, said. “However, as this study clearly shows, many of these parts produced by auto manufacturers are often inferior to certified generic parts. In fact, half of the auto manufacturers’ parts wouldn’t qualify for CAPA certification.”

Hansen noted that the Alliance has long supported the efforts of CAPA, which since 1992 has used Entela Labs, the same lab used by car companies, to develop standards and inspect aftermarket parts. To earn the CAPA seal of approval, a part must pass stringent tests to assure that it is at least equal to its OEM counterpart.

“It has long been the Alliance’s contention that certified generic automobile replacement parts, although less expensive, are superior to car company replacement parts. This study further confirms our position,” Hansen said. Since 1982, the Alliance has conducted numerous replacement part studies using a variety of automobile models to demonstrate the excessive cost of car company parts. The cost of rebuilding a vehicle with “genuine” car company parts generally triples the original cost.

The Alliance’s most recent study focused on a 2001 Chevrolet Cavalier LS four- door sedan. Even without the cost of paint and labor, the Cavalier built entirely from car company replacement parts cost $63,240—more than four times the retail cost.

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