The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) in collaboration with Holden revealed today the latest in its Genuine Is Best campaign, highlighting the importance of genuine parts in automotive collision repair.
Today’s presentation dealt specifically with non-genuine bonnets for the VF Commodore, with Holden applying the same benchmark testing to the aftermarket bonnets as it would to its own original equipment items.
The testing, which was conducted under the supervision of GM-Holden engineering group manager Rowan Lal, revealed that the non-genuine part failed in numerous key areas, including fit and finish, and longevity, with an accelerated wear test identifying potential striker wire (the part that holds the bonnet within its catch) failure occurring in less than half the time of the genuine part.
Striker wire failure has the potential to lead to the bonnet flying up while driving at highway speeds. The tests also revealed an increased risk of pedestrian head injury from the non-genuine parts. A difference in weight, with non genuine parts including steel in their construction as opposed to aluminium, also increased the risk of bonnet slamming presenting a danger to service staff and owners.
While the data presented concentrated solely on the Holden components, the FCAI has previously demonstrated the potential risk of counterfeit alloy wheels, and presented the data as representative of the risk presented by non-genuine parts across a wide scope of applications.
FCAI chief executive, Tony Webber, said that thousands of non-genuine components could be in circulation - usually resulting from cost-cutting during the crash repair process - and urged consumers to insist on genuine components.
“What we’ve seen today is one more example of non-genuine parts presenting a serious danger to consumers," Mr Webber said.
“We urge consumers to ask their car insurer up front: Do you use genuine parts in repairs, and if not, why not?”
When questioned about the potential long-term impact on insurance premiums as a result of customers insisting on higher-cost genuine parts Mr Webber said that the FCAI wouldn’t pressure members to lower the cost of genuine parts.
“I dispute the fact that there is any suggestion that there is enormous margins in parts, the simple fact is my members have a responsibility to consumers who buy their product to stock parts for many years and supply them to market. All that costs,” Mr. Webber said.
“You’re talking about a quality component that’s got all the R&D and the manufacturing to build it to a high standard, versus a poor, counterfeit product.”
The FCAI reports that 500,000 counterfeit parts have been intercepted in Australia, with the global non-genuine parts industry estimated to be worth in excess of $20 billion annually.
Mr Webber urged consumers that believe their vehicles may have been repaired using non-genuine parts to visit their genuine dealer to confirm the parts used are genuine.
In the event of non-genuine parts consumers can report their case to the FCAI via a dedicated web portal on its Genuine Is Best site. A new collaboration between the FCAI, and the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection will see all cases investigated in an attempt to restrict the importation of counterfeit parts.
Note: Although the FCAI uses the terms “non-genuine” and “counterfeit” interchangeably, non-genuine parts are generally marketed as a lower-cost alternative to genuine equipment while counterfeit parts are usually passed off as the genuine item despite differences in cost and quality.