All across the world, governments are implementing early vehicle retirement programs that are intended to help struggling automakers. This year already, two accelerated vehicle retirement bills have been introduced in the United States Congress. Regrettably, both seek to restrict the sale of two major replacement parts -- the engine and transmission -- harvested from vehicles turned in for end-of-life processing under these programs. Notwithstanding good intentions, while these measures may assist automakers now, they will inevitably hurt the consumer later, with short-term and long-term repercussions, if not properly addressed. Additional analysis of the potential ramifications of these proposed programs is needed.
The critical nature of this kind of broad legislation is twofold. First, American automobile repair businesses and consumers purchase these quality recycled vehicle components every day to keep their vehicles running. These businesses and consumers rely on parts from recycled vehicles because of their substantial savings in reduced repair costs and lower insurance premiums, savings from the purchase of a replacement vehicle, and also for the strong environmental benefits. In fact, these two parts alone typically account for some 50% to 60% of a professional automotive recycler's sales -- overall automotive recycling is a $22 billion industry in the United States. Thus, Congress should understand the demand for such repair options, and consider the implications of restricting them.
Secondly, what may be a voluntary program for a consumer turning in a vehicle under the "Cash for Clunkers" program now quickly becomes a compulsory program for non-participating consumers later because of reduced access to replacement parts, which in turn causes inflated prices. Not to mention that these recycled automotive replacement parts have the same performance, safety, fit, and durability standards because they were made by the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). The Automotive Recyclers Association's (ARA) Executive Vice President Michael E. Wilson questions the sensibility of the program given the current situation of the automotive manufacturers. "With the daily questions in the media about the economic survival of major automobile manufacturers and their suppliers, how irresponsible is it for Congress to push for the needless scrapping of millions of replacement parts when the very supply chain for new parts is in jeopardy."
The Automotive Recyclers Association represents an industry dedicated to the efficient removal and reuse of "green" automotive parts, and the proper recycling of inoperable motor vehicles.
The recovery, reuse, and resale of these quality recycled parts must remain readily available to the consumer who may not want or be able to financially retire their vehicle and will require access to parts from these vehicles for their future repairs.
To learn more about the Association, visit ARA's home page at www.a-r-a.org.