With Congress continually weighing the benefits and drawbacks to aftermarket parts, the Automotive Body Parts Association (ABPA) has launched an initiative that is designed to protect a vehicle owner’s ability to purchase aftermarket parts. The auto industry has been exposed, in a way, regarding the overpricing of replacement parts, and many (such as the ABPA) believe that they are attempting to maintain a monopoly over the parts industry. This battle has been ongoing, but the emergence of a strong effort from the ABPA signals a “turning of the tide”.
HR3889, better known as the “Parts Act” will limit the amount of time that an automaker can maintain exclusive manufacturing rights for auto parts. While the automakers cite U.S. patents as their “ownership” over the creation and delivery of these parts, the Parts Act will only offer them a 2 ½ year window of exclusivity. After that, it’s free game for any manufacturer with the technology to create quality replacement parts.
The cost of aftermarket parts for the consumer is what is ultimately driving these conversations. With aftermarket parts often being as much as 50% cheaper than the branded alternatives, vehicle owners are hoping that this initiative offers the industry some relief, as dealerships are known for sky-high pricing.
Where the bill ends up is anyone’s guess, but with the emergence of the ABPA’s support of the Parts Act, we believe that this will resolve itself in the consumer’s favor shortly.