Monday, 15 November 2010 22:06

CAPA Report Exposes Flaws in Georgia Body Shop’s Aftermarket Parts Demonstration Shown on Fox News Atlanta

The Certified Automotive Parts Association October 19 released an in-depth analysis of the facts surrounding a demonstration shown in a July televised report by Fox 5 News in Atlanta that appeared to show that a CAPA-Certified aftermarket radiator support was substantially inferior in strength and quality to its BMW-made counterpart.

The purported comparison by Performance Auto Collision of Alpharetta, Georgia and the FOX 5 News “I-Team” of the “bend-ability,” and thus strength, of a BMW brand radiator support with an aftermarket counterpart was invalid because the two supports were, in fact, completely different parts made to fit on different models of BMW 3-Series vehicles. Specifically, the CAPA investigation found:

1) The demonstration compared two items that were actually completely separate and distinct parts.
a. The BMW-made part shown in the FOX 5 report was an upper tie bar radiator support (BMW#51717114123) manufactured specifically by BMW to be installed in its 3-Series Convertible.


b. The aftermarket part Performance Auto Collision used in the FOX News report shown was a piece of the combined upper and lower tie bar radiator support manufactured specifically to be installed in a different vehicle, the 3-Series Sedan/Coupe/Wagon, as a replacement for BMW part #51717111691. The part BMW designed for the 3-Series Sedan/Coupe/Wagon is dramatically different than the comparable part it uses in its convertible. (The actual aftermarket part used in the demonstration was manufactured by Gordon Auto Body Parts Co. and certified by CAPA.)
c. The BMW cast aluminum upper tie bar for the BMW convertible would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to bend by hand. Both the BMW and CAPA-Certified wrought aluminum upper tie bars for the CAPA News Page 2 BMW Sedan/Coupe/Wagon would be relatively easy to bend by hand, especially if separated from the lower tie bar.
d. These two parts are not intended to be interchangeable. For whatever reason, Performance Auto Collision represented to FOX 5 and its viewers that the CAPA-Certified aftermarket radiator support part shown was manufactured and marketed to be identical to the BMW-made support when, in fact, they were comparing two different parts.

2) The Gordon aftermarket combined radiator support part for the BMW Sedan/Coupe/Wagon which Performance Auto Collision used in the FOX 5 demonstration had been modified in a manner to more closely resemble the very different BMW Convertible upper tie bar radiator support. Specifically, the rivets attaching the upper tie bar piece to the lower tie bar piece had been removed and only half of the aftermarket part was used by Performance Auto Collision in the FOX 5 demonstration.

CAPA’s analysis concludes that the comparative demonstration performed by Performance Auto Collision for FOX 5 News was flawed and invalid. FOX viewers were left with the misleading impression that the CAPA Certified aftermarket part was of inferior strength and quality to its BMW-made counterpart. However, not only did Performance Auto Collision conduct an invalid comparison of two different parts, they also performed an unauthorized and potentially unsafe modification on the Gordon aftermarket part to make it appear to be the same as the BMW-made part in the demonstration.

CAPA has asked both Performance Auto Collision and FOX News to issue a retraction of the report.

A report on CAPA’s analysis is available on CAPA’s website at http://www.capacertified.org/press/Analysis_of_Fox_AM_Parts.pdf
For more information see CAPAcertified.org.

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