Automakers are pressing for state laws requiring the use of OEM collision repair procedures as part of their effort to limit the use of alternative parts, a representative of LKQ Corporation told a gathering of non-OEM parts manufacturers and distributors.
“This is about money and profit,” Ray Colas, director of government affairs for LKQ Corporation, said at the Auto Body Parts Association (ABPA) convention held in May in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
In the effort to pass state laws requiring the use of OEM procedures, automakers and repairers are pointing to the John Eagle Collision lawsuit, in which a dealership collision shop was successfully sued for not following OEM repair procedures on a vehicle in which a Texas couple, Matthew and Marcia Seebachan, were subsequently injured, Colas said.
State lawmakers are being told that OEM procedure laws are needed to prevent insurers from calling for the use of non-OEM part and industry-accepted repair practices, he said. However, he said, the dealership shop sued by the Seebachans was “unable to provide evidence that [the repair process they used] was provided by the insurer.”
“The insurer did not force them to follow a certain procedure,” Colas said. “They chose not to, because they didn’t feel they would get paid for the [automaker repair] process which is why the verdict was against the body shop. They chose profits over morals.”
The reality, Colas said, is that nothing prevents body shops from following OEM procedures. The industry regularly uses “best practices” in the many situations in which a documents OEM procedure doesn’t exist. It is “hypocritical” of the repair industry to back legislation mandating insurers to pay for OEM repair procedures if shops aren’t also required to follow them, he said.
“There is no penalty against the body shop” in most of the proposed state bills, Colas said. “They’re going after the deep pocket—it’s the insurer’ fault.”
Such legislation is being backed by automakers as part of their push for the use of OEM parts as called for in their position statements, he added.
“Our position is, as creative as they are, with utilizing this mechanism to restrict the use of aftermarket parts,” Colas said. “Why don’t they use that same level of creativity to get paid [for following OEM procedures]?”