US report highlights $363m parts discrepancy

The Quality Parts Coalition (QPC) has released a new report highlighting significant price gap between car company brand and independently produced auto collision repair parts.

The report reveals that American consumers saved more than $363 million by using independently produced parts rather than parts sold under car company brand names during the past five years.

The report, entitled ‘Competition Drives Real Consumer Savings in Collision Repair’, examined 100 of the top most commonly sold certified collision repair parts from 2009-2014 using data from the Certified Automotive Parts Association. Research showed that the independently produced certified parts were, on average, 27% less expensive than their car company brand counterparts with a cost difference as large as 68% or $502.04.

‘It’s clear that independent auto parts are driving competition in the auto repair parts market and that consumers are reaping the benefits,’ said Ed Salamy, executive director of the QPC. ‘That’s why it’s important to ensure the industry stays competitive and continues to pass along savings to consumers.’

In recent years, automakers have increasingly secured design patents on individual collision repair parts to limit the availability of independently produced counterparts, forcing consumers to pay car companies more to fix their vehicles.
Bipartisan companion legislation has been introduced in the US House of Representative and the Senate, which would fix design patent law to safeguard consumers against price gouging. The Promoting Automotive Repair, Trade, and Sales (PARTS) Act of 2015 (HR 1057 and S 560) would preserve consumer choice for auto collision repair parts and protect over 60 years of competition that has existed in the collision repair parts market. If the competition for parts were eliminated, it is estimated that insured loss costs could increase by as much as $1.5 billion.

‘Consumers save big when there’s a competitive marketplace,’ said Jack Gillis, director of public affairs for the consumer federation of America. ‘Major car companies are trying to disrupt the status quo by limiting competition in order to grow their profits at the expense of the average American.’