Volume 12, Issue 6 - November/December 2010

Field of Vision
from the editor

Shhh …
by Penny Stacey

 

The quality OEM versus aftermarket parts debate certainly is not a new one in the industry, but in recent months it’s become an increasingly prevalent controversy in both the auto glass and collision repair industries. Just this month, it has achieved new visibility with the release of a Consumer Reports article encouraging consumers to demand OEM parts in some
instances.

On page 18, you’ll see an inside look at this issue from the perspectives of several industry experts who offered their insights into the differences, the possibilities for making “OE-like” products and more. You’ll also see a call from an industry executive for aftermarket parts manufacturers to come forward and prove their products live up to the standards set by OE manufacturers (see page 6).

But it seems many are silent on the subject. During one of my interviews, I asked one industry expert why he thinks manufacturers and others are so tight-lipped on the issue.

“OE manufacturers often use different or looser specs for aftermarket products,” says Russ Corsi, who worked for PPG for many years and now serves as an industry consultant.

But what Corsi and others suggest, as you’ll see in the article, is that installers do have a duty to make sure that the products they install are safe for the consumer.

But what happens when insurers are pushing cheaper, aftermarket products? What do you do then? And, how do you determine what’s safe?

“OE manufacturers often use different or looser specs for aftermarket products.”
—Russ Corsi


I’d like to hear your thoughts on this. I hear from readers who struggle with glass quality on a daily basis. But how are you dealing with these problems? And how do you choose whether to use OE or aftermarket glass in any given installation? Is it up to the consumer, or the insurer or some other entity?

I’m looking forward to learning your thoughts on the topic, and hope to feature them in a future article written about the installer’s perspective on the OEM versus aftermarket issue. Hopefully, together we can get to the bottom of the issue—and can remove the hush that seems to strike the industry when the topic arises.

Please e-mail me at pstacey@glass.com, or give me a call at 540/720-5584, ext. 148.

P.S. In other news, the dates have been set for next year’s Auto Glass Week™ event, which will be held in Memphis, Tenn., September 15-17. Turn to page 20 for the dates and details, and be sure to watch the event website, www.autoglassweek.com, for more information.

Penny Stacey is the editor of AGRR magazine.


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