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Thursday, 22 September 2011 16:46

Ford Motor Company Issues Response Statement to ABPA Crash Test Videos

Ford Motor Company said that the recent report published by the Automotive Body Parts Association (ABPA), claiming Ford service parts are inferior to its production parts, is based on incomplete facts and only highlights the aftermarket parts industry’s lack of understanding about some aspects of the auto manufacturing process. The carmaker has issued a complete explanation. See coverage in Sept. issues of Autobody News, or online at autobodynews.com.

The ABPA report, published on September 9, cites engineering test results that show significant material differences between one Ford service part and the Ford production part it was designed to replace. Based on the result of that test, the ABPA concluded that Ford Genuine OEM Collision Replacement Parts are different than the original production components. The ABPA published the test results along with accusations that Ford was ‘grossly misrepresenting the truth’ when it claimed in a video that “Genuine Ford collision replacement parts are the same as those used to manufacture the vehicle.”

Ford, however—acknowledging that the parts tested by NSF were indeed different—said the conclusion drawn by the ABPA is based on incomplete facts and that the 2005-2009 Mustang front bumper isolators tested by ABPA (through NSF) were both used for vehicle manufacturing as well as service replacement.

The carmaker said, “The parts referenced [by the ABPA] were used for both manufacturing and service replacement, and were thoroughly tested and proven to meet Ford’s specifications for the Mustang. The statements in Ford’s YouTube video are true and accurate and Ford stands behind all of them, including Ford’s claim that collision replacement parts are the same as those used to manufacture the vehicle.

“ABPA’s accusations highlight the aftermarket’s lack of understanding and difficulty staying current with the frequent running changes made by automakers in their quest to constantly improve vehicles,” Ford noted. Here are the facts as presented by Ford:

Many part materials are exhaustively analyzed and tested by Ford during the vehicle development process to meet internal and external requirements for safety, quality, fuel economy, cost-of-ownership and breakthrough technologies. At Job 1 (first production assembly of a new model) for the 2005–2009 Mustang, specifications called for single-density polypropylene front and rear bumper isolators. However, as the vehicle had been tested and certified using a double-density polypropylene front bumper isolator, Ford maintained the use of that material until the vehicle could again be thoroughly tested and certified using the single-density polypropylene front bumper isolator.

From Job 1 until January 18, 2007, the double-density polypropylene bumper isolator was used for both vehicle manufacturing and service replacement. Upon completing testing and proving the single-density polypropylene front bumper isolator met all requirements and specifications, it went into vehicle production and was used for both vehicle manufacturing and service replacement. As both double-and single-density bumper isolators were proven forward- and backward-compatible, both were available for service replacement until stock of the double-density isolators was exhausted.

Ford said, “This chronology illustrates the lengths that Ford goes through to thoroughly test our Genuine Ford OEM Collision replacement parts as part of an entire system. These facts and Ford’s continuing concerns with the fit, finish, material composition and structural integrity of aftermarket collision parts reinforce Ford’s position that Genuine Ford Replacement Collision Parts are the right choice for consumers.

The carmaker concluded, “As the NSF testing speaks to material differences, it would have been more complete and meaningful if the aftermarket polystyrene isolator had also been tested and compared to the Genuine Ford polypropylene isolators.”

The statement refers to the relatively small difference between the single-and double-density polypropylene isolators tested by the ABPA as opposed to the more extreme difference between the OEM high density polypropylene isolators and the substitute aftermarket isolators made from polystyrene—the white “styrofoam” that coffee cups are made from.

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