At the recent 14th International Automotive Recyclers Congress in Brussels, Belgium, Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) CEO Michael E. Wilson urged the automotive manufacturing community to provide professional automotive recyclers with access to crucial original equipment manufacturers (OEM) parts data.
In his March 20th presentation to the Congress, Wilson called on the automotive manufacturers in attendance “to become better economic, environmental and safety partners by releasing OEM build sheet data to the professional automotive industry’s inventory management entities, just as they do for insurance companies and the collision repair industry.” Regrettably, he noted that “auto manufacturers have placed major restrictions on the dissemination of this data so that it cannot be integrated into professional automotive recyclers’ inventory management systems. Wilson described the domino effect that this lack of data has on consumers. “Without this important data about the parts that OEMs originally manufactured, professional automotive recyclers are not able to seamlessly integrate their OEM parts inventory into estimating and collision repair platforms and consumers will have fewer choices when making important decisions about the repair of their vehicles.”
The current focus on automotive recalls highlights Wilson’s emphasis on the necessity of vehicle manufacturers making parts information available to the industry. Several media outlets are reporting this week that General Motors may have committed “a cardinal sin” with regards to the Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion when it re-engineered the vehicles’ faulty ignition switch, but did not create a new part number. This unusual deviation from the industry’s standard practices hampered identifying the safety issue for several years. Wilson says this example highlights why detailed part information must be made available to professional automotive recyclers. “The industry must be provided with safety information that can be automatically synchronized with recycled parts inventory so that important recall and service bulletin information is seamlessly integrated into the inventory management systems utilized by the automotive recycling industry.”
Important data including original equipment guides (OEG) lists and regular production option (RPO) codes, which detail the particular equipment packages and option combinations for a particular vehicle, is critical to the professional automotive recycling community. “Without access to this information it is difficult to map specific part numbers to the build sheet of a vehicle and because of these restrictions by the OEMs, consumers are often deprived of the ability to purchase cost-effective OEM recycled parts,” said Wilson.
“Given the supply of recycled parts, restricting access to data is just bad economic and environmental policy”, Wilson stated. He asked attendees of the Congress to consider that from the day a vehicle is driven off a new car dealership’s lot for the very first time — that vehicle is a “used” vehicle; likewise every part on the vehicle is then “used”. Whether an accident happens in the first 25 miles or 25,000 to 50,000 miles later, the undamaged OEM parts and components on those vehicles have significant economic and environmental value. Consumers have a right to the economic and environmental benefits of these OEM parts and the barriers and obstacles to their reutilization must be eliminated.
Wilson concluded his remarks by challenging his global audience to join in the effort to obtain parts data from manufacturers and to encourage the OEMs to partner with professional automotive recyclers who promote the reuse of the parts that the OEMs initially brought to the marketplace.