HOUSTON — The Automotive Body Parts Association (ABPA) today released results showing wide variance across key criteria in production and service parts that the Ford Motor Company claims are “the same.” Testing by experienced automotive engineers revealed that Ford service parts exhibited lower hardness, lower weight, lower density, higher flammability, and were able to absorb far less energy than “the same” Ford production parts. The test results are available on the ABPA website.
The ABPA was compelled to put parts to the test following a recently released Ford video that criticized the automotive aftermarket industry and erroneously asserted that “genuine Ford collision replacement parts are the same as those used to manufacture the vehicle.” An initial examination by the ABPA found that two factory-installed front bumper isolators removed from 2005-2009 Ford Mustangs weighed 72 percent more than two genuine Ford service parts for the exact components. Subsequent testing by the highly-respected NSF International confirmed those weights.
When those two Ford production parts were then compared to two Ford-branded front bumper isolator service parts purchased from Ford dealers, engineers discovered large differences across a variety of other key criteria.
The average density of the Ford service parts was 79 percent lower than the density of the Ford production parts. According to the NSF’s Vehicle EPP Energy Absorber criteria, an acceptable criterion for density tolerance is +20/-10%.
Meanwhile, the average hardness of the two Ford replacement parts was 23 percent less than the hardness of the production parts, which falls outside the +20/-10% variance that NSF permits.
When it came to compressive load, the Ford service parts could withstand an average of 83 % less than the production parts, while the average compressive energy declined an average of 81 % from the original parts to the Ford-branded collision replacement components.
In terms of flammability, the average burn rate was 319 percent higher for the Ford service parts than the original Ford parts installed during production.
“To anyone who reviews the data, it is indisputable that Ford’s production and service parts are hardly ‘the same,’ as the company has asserted,” said ABPA Legislation and Regulation Committee Co-Chair Eileen A. Sottile. “If Ford’s genuine collision repair parts can vary as much from the production parts as these do and still be considered acceptable for consumers, then obviously material composition is not as crucial as Ford has claimed. Testing by the ABPA has already demonstrated that high quality aftermarket parts can deliver the same vehicle occupant protection as car company parts despite their lack of a car company logo or higher price tag.”
“What has been revealed through the study of these widely varying parts is a cynical double standard by a company that seeks to champion its own repair parts above all others while casting aspersions on the aftermarket,” Sottile added.
Headquartered in Houston, Automotive Body Parts Association represents manufacturers, distributors and suppliers of independently produced aftermarket body parts. The membership base consists of more than 150 of the industry’s leading companies which operate in approximately 400 separate locations and which supply more than 75 percent of these type parts to the marketplace.