Imitation Parts

Imitation Parts Intro

Insurance companies often include the use of imitation sheet metal replacement parts on their estimates. Although they never actually call these inferior parts “imitations”, the fact of the matter is that these parts are not made to the same exacting standards as those from the Original Equipment Manufacturer (O.E.M.). Rather than calling these parts what they truly are, insurers prefer friendlier terms such as “Quality Replacement Part” (QRP) or “Like, Kind and Quality” (LKQ). These parts, usually from offshore companies based in countries such as Taiwan, lack the corrosion protection afforded by the O.E.M. parts.

Safety of Imitation Parts

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash-tests new cars. Although NHTSA official Kenneth Weinstein agrees that there’s “clearly a potential for diminished safety” with imitation doors in a side impact, his agency’s standards don’t apply to replacement doors. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) also crash-tests new cars. The only replacement part it tested was one imitation hood 13 years ago.

Economic Impact of Imitation Parts

Imitation parts account for approximately 18% of the $9 BILLION annual market for replacement crash parts. This amounts to somewhere near $1.62 BILLION yearly. Even if one were to assume a 50% markup was being realized by the importers of these aftermarket parts – and that markup was being retained by companies within our country, that would mean we were sending nearly $1.08 BILLION overseas.

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