Yearly Archives: 2001

USAA Reaffirms Commitment To CAPA-Certified Parts

All Other Standards Dismissed in Favor of Exclusive Use of CAPA-Certified Parts

SAN ANTONIO – USAA, the nation’s sixth largest automobile insurer, today announced that it is reaffirming its commitment to using only aftermarket crash parts that carry the Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA) seal.

“We’ve looked objectively at the alternatives and frankly, CAPA’s certification process is the only process out there that meets our standards for quality, non-OEM replacement parts,” said Butch Viccellio, President of USAA’s Property and Casualty Insurance Group. “The standards of some of the other organizations we’ve looked at just don’t measure up to the quality USAA members expect.”

This commitment may come as no surprise to many, as Viccellio has served as CAPA’s chairman of the board since 1999. But Viccellio is quick to point out his first commitment is to USAA members. “Admittedly, I know quite a bit about CAPA’s stringent process,” added Viccellio. “But make no mistake, USAA wouldn’t use CAPA parts if the necessary steps weren’t being taken to ensure that quality replacement parts are available. CAPA is still the only organization that puts both the manufacturing process and vehicle parts through a rigorous certification process, taking steps to ensure the parts actually fit on vehicles. The major automakers don’t even go this far with their replacement parts.”

USAA’s policy on replacement parts usage and the rights of its policyholders is clear. While allowing its members the final say in parts selection, USAA recommends the use of CAPA-certified replacement parts or parts complying with federal standards whenever they are available. Otherwise, OEM replacement parts are the choice. This policy applies to vehicles more than two years old, and carries a transferable replacement warranty.

A strong advocate of both marketplace competition among aftermarket manufacturers and rigorous certification processes, Viccellio has personally researched other programs offering certified parts, most recently Global Validators’ Manufacturers’ Qualification Verification Program (MQVP). “MQVP is trying hard to enter this marketplace and is focused on the right outcome,” added Viccellio. “But it seems clear to me that process certification, parts testing standards and pricing structures are areas where they need some additional work. For now, our USAA membership is better served by continuing our exclusive use of OEM and CAPA-certified aftermarket parts.”

USAA has been serving military families since 1922 and has become one of America’s leading financial services companies. The association, well known for its exceptional service, offers its 4.7 million members a comprehensive range of insurance, banking and investment products and services designed to help them meet their financial needs.

Headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, with offices throughout the United States and Europe, USAA owns or manages assets of more than $62 billion.

The Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA) is a non-profit organization established in 1987 to develop and oversee a test program guaranteeing the suitability and quality of automotive parts. CAPA encourages competition in the marketplace in the hope that their program will ultimately reduce expense to the consumer and the industry while increasing and assuring part quality.

CAPA to Expand Certifications to Include Lighting

Fit, Finish, and Performance Problems Expressed By Repairers to Be Addressed-Compliance with Federal Standards Assured

WASHINGTON, DC – The Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA) is expanding its list of certified replacement parts to include selected lighting components. At its meeting on November 30, the CAPA Board reviewed various avenues for expansion of its quality standards program and approved the development of a lighting standard. Future CAPA-certified lighting products will address the fit, finish, and performance concerns expressed by repairers. Current CAPA standards cover sheet metal and plastic collision repair parts.

“The combination of dramatically increasing automaker lighting prices and concerns about the quality of some aftermarket brand lighting products has created a strong market demand for a fairly priced, high quality alternative,” said Butch Viccellio, CAPA’s board president. “CAPA is well positioned, in cooperation with the industry, to develop a set of standards that would enable manufacturers of competitive parts to demonstrate to the public their high quality.”

CAPA has already begun the process of developing the standards and will be accelerating its efforts to provide the public with this information. The goal is to have a CAPA standard in place by early 2002. This will enable manufacturers to begin offering certified lighting in the marketplace by mid-year.

Because of CAPA’s highly effective vehicle test fit process, collision repairers are giving CAPA certified parts another look. “Our goal has always been to insure that all CAPA certified parts work for the collision repairer,” said CAPA executive director, Jack Gillis. “We’ve heard from both repairers and insurers that there is a strong desire to use competitive lighting, but the parts must fit. The CAPA standards will not only confirm compliance with the applicable FMVSS and SAE requirements, but meet CAPA requirements for material, appearance and strength standards, as well as the all-important compliance with our rigid vehicle test fit.”

The Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA) is a non-profit organization established in 1987 to develop and oversee a test program guaranteeing the suitability and quality of automotive parts. CAPA encourages competition in the marketplace in the hope that their program will ultimately reduce expense to the consumer and the industry while increasing and assuring part quality.

CAPA Takes Next Step in Quality Assurance:

All CAPA Parts Must Pass Vehicle Test Fit by Year End

LAS VEGAS – The Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA) is taking another step toward ensuring that cosmetic parts with the CAPA seal will fit when placed on a vehicle in repair. By the end of this year, all applicable CAPA certified parts will have passed CAPA’s rigorous Vehicle Test Fit (VTF).

CAPA is now certifying only those parts that meet the extremely high standards of its VTF program, which compares, by way of actual on-equipment installation, CAPA certified parts with the original car company parts, also known as Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM).

“We’ve learned a lot from our experience with the VTF program,” says Butch Viccellio, president of the board of directors of CAPA. “And we’re now more confident than ever we have a process that will give repairers, insurers, and vehicle owners the peace of mind to know that CAPA certified parts are a quality alternative to OEM.”

Rising to the next level

With this next step in the program, all CAPA certified parts will have now gone through an extensive test fit process, where the part has actually been placed on an undamaged vehicle and compared with the automaker’s parts. CAPA has already begun removing from its certified list those parts previously certified without the benefit of a VTF.

“This step will prevent users from getting a part that has not been through a vehicle test fit,” says CAPA executive director, Jack Gillis.

In recent double-blind fit tests sponsored by the auto repair industry, CAPA parts have performed very well against their car company counterparts. In five of the last eight tests conducted at CIC, auto repair experts selected the CAPA part over the automakers’ part. However, some CAPA parts that had not been through the VTF process scored lower in these tests, offering clear evidence as to the value of an actual, on-equipment evaluation.

“We were excited about these test results because they validate that CAPA is on the right track,” added Gillis. “But we saw some areas where we can improve, and this next phase of the certification program will take us to a higher level of part quality. One goal of our VTF program has always been to compensate for the variability in the quality and fit of car company parts. Applying this process to every applicable part bearing our CAPA seal represents a major step toward ensuring that whenever a CAPA part is used in repair, it will have the same or better fit, finish, and functionality as an OEM part.”

NACE Announcement

CAPA announced this next phase of its VTF process at the recent 2001 International Autobody Congress and Exposition (NACE) conference in Las Vegas, which is attended by more than 35,000 auto collision repair experts.

NACE Chairman, Chris Dameron, who is also ASA’s collision division director , is glad to see CAPA’s VTF program continuing to evolve. “We all know that if a part doesn’t fit, we lose money. And CAPA is the only organization I know of that is taking the necessary steps to make sure their parts fit, and fit consistently.”

CAPA has already removed more than 300 parts that did not pass the stringent VTF phase from its list of certified parts. Manufacturers may resubmit for re-certification any part removed from the program, once they have demonstrated to CAPA that previously identified problems have been corrected and the part has successfully passed a vehicle test fit.

A complete database of CAPA certified parts can be accessed through the association’s web site at

This announcement comes on the heels of an Insurance Research Council (IRC) survey, which says 57 percent of all Americans would be willing to use competitive aftermarket parts if they were certified by CAPA. The survey can been seen at

The Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA) is a non-profit organization established in 1987 to develop and oversee a test program guaranteeing the suitability and quality of automotive parts. CAPA encourages competition in the marketplace in the hope that their program will ultimately reduce expense to the consumer and the industry while increasing and assuring part quality.

AutoLign Commitment to Quality Reflected in CAPA Certification of Parts

70% of AutoLign Parts are Currently CAPA Certified

Washington D.C. – The Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA) announces that AutoLign Manufacturing Group, Inc., the largest manufacturer of bumper covers, fascias and bumper supports for collision replacement in North America, has increased its CAPA certified parts base by 40%. Autolign now has 70% of the parts it manufactures certified by CAPA. With the goal 100% of their product line.

AutoLign’s commitment to quality is further demonstrated by its registration to the QS-9000 quality standard for automotive suppliers. AutoLign is the first aftermarket fascia and bumper cover manufacturer in North America to be QS-9000 Registered – the standard of the world’s automakers.

“Clearly, the decision by AutoLign to subject the vast majority of its parts to CAPA’s intense quality certification requirements exhibits great confidence in quality,” said Jack Gillis, Executive Director of the non-profit association, “Quality sells and AutoLign’s commitment to CAPA certification is an indication that true customer satisfaction is at the top of their list.”

In order for a part to become CAPA-certified, it must be validated through CAPA’s independent, third-party testing facility to determine that it will properly fit on a vehicle, within specified guidelines. The Vehicle Test Fit program helps insure the quality of every CAPA certified part.

“When a part passes CAPA’s rigid standards, it is not being rubber stamped for quality, it means it has passed a battery of material, finish, fit, composition and vehicle fit tests,” said Phil Storm, President and Chief Executive Officer of AutoLign, “Our commitment to quality is reflected in the number of our parts that are CAPA certified.”

The Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA) is a non-profit organization established in 1987 to develop and oversee a test program guaranteeing the suitability and quality of automotive parts. CAPA encourages competition in the marketplace in the hope that their program will ultimately reduce expense to the consumer and the industry while increasing and assuring part quality.

CAPA Donates Auto Body Parts to Kent Intermediate School District:

Nearly 500 Parts Donated for Dent Repair Classes

Washington D.C. – The Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA) has donated nearly 500 auto body panels to the Kent Intermediate School District’s Career/Technical Center for Auto Body Repair in Western Michigan. These parts will be used to give high school students technical, real-world training in collision repair work.

Each class session is over 2 hours long, with 80% of that time spent doing repair work on the shop floor. Every student is assigned an auto body panel, such as a fender, into which the instructor has knocked a dent comparable to what would be seen at an automotive repair shop. The student is then graded upon how they repair the dent, and must demonstrate the ability to repair it using 3 different techniques. Prior to this donation, 2 students had to share one body part to perform repairs. Now, with the additional panels donated by CAPA, each student has his or her own part on which to work.

“CAPA is proud to be able to serve the community by donating parts to the Technical Center,” said Jack Gillis, Executive Director of the non-profit association, “We hope that training on the parts will help make these high school students the collision repair technicians of the future.”

The parts were originally used as part of CAPA’s Vehicle Test Fit Program. In order for a part to become CAPA-certified, it must be validated through CAPA’s independent, third-party testing facility to determine that it will properly fit on a vehicle, within specified guidelines. This program helps insure the quality of every CAPA certified part.

Rather than discarding the parts, it was determined that they could serve a useful purpose in educating students at the Technical Center. “The Center offers a wide variety of high-tech programs for the college-bound and career-tech student. Thanks to CAPA, our students can work on new sheet metal and follow up-to-date procedures,” said Jarrod Herman, Auto Collision Instructor.

The Certified Automotive Parts Association is the nation’s only independent, non-profit, third-part crash parts quality certification organization.


CAPA’s New Test Fit Process Works – Baltimore:

Recent CIC Parts Test Identifies Problems With Two CAPA Parts

During the past year, Certified Auto Parts Association (CAPA) parts have excelled in Collision Industry Conference (CIC) testing. The results of the most recent CIC test were less positive. Two CAPA parts, which were certified in 1996, do not meet today’s strict certification standards.

“While these results are disappointing, they prove an extremely important point,” said CAPA President Butch Viccellio. “Parts that have successfully passed CAPA’s new vehicle test fit produce better results.”

In March of 1999, CAPA added an extensive vehicle test fit component to its certification process, which measures how well parts fit on the car. This test is conducted only after parts pass rigorous material, construction, corrosion and appearance tests.

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CAPA Website Offers New Interactive Features:

Public Access to CAPA Procedures and Parts a Key Component of
CAPA’s Program

WASHINGTON, DC – As part of its overall public education program, CAPA has enhanced its website with new features which will enable anyone with internet access to search the complete database of certified parts, obtain information about vehicle test fits, and use an automated complaint form.

Anyone who visits can easily run a “quick search” by vehicle, which will show a listing of all certified parts available for that particular vehicle. The complete database can also be queried by CAPA part number to instantly verify if the part is currently certified. In addition, users can easily obtain a list of all CAPA-certified parts, or can limit their search to a specific manufacturer, make or model. “In short, our website enhancements ensure that key information about CAPA parts is instantly available to anyone,” said Jack Gillis, Executive Director of CAPA.

The website also contains information on CAPA’s exclusive Vehicle Test Fit Program. In order to become certified, each part must be validated by CAPA’s independent, third-party testing facility (Entela Labs, Grand Rapids, MI) to determine that it will properly fit on a vehicle using very specific guidelines. CAPA’s vehicle test fit program is added to an extensive battery of fit, finish, material and performance tests that are required for each part. Detailed information on CAPA’s six different VTF’s and a specific listing of the required tests are also available

“Providing complete access to information on which parts achieve our high levels of quality and program details have always been fundamental priorities for CAPA,” said Gillis. “As an independent, third-party, standard-setting and certification organization, providing universal access to information is a key component in our credibility.” Currently, CAPA distributes over 50,000 copies of the Directory of High Quality Certified Parts each year and provides electronic estimators with complete part status updates each week. The website is updated daily, and makes current information instantly available. “Not to provide the public with complete access to the program would imply a sense of ‘secrecy’ and incompleteness that has never been a part of the CAPA philosophy,” said Gillis.

The CAPA website also includes an automated, on-line complaint form which provides consumers, collision repairers, part distributors, insurance adjusters and others with an easily accessible system for instant, real-world input of concerns about CAPA part quality.

The Certified Automotive Parts Association is the nation’s only independent, non-profit, third party crash parts quality certification organization. CAPA certification identifies, for both consumers and the industry, those parts which meet our high quality standards for fit, clear construction, and corrosion resistance. Not all aftermarket parts are created equal. For more information on CAPA, go to


Latest CIC Parts Test – Minneapolis:

Vehicle Test Fit Makes a Difference

After outperforming car company parts in several Collision Industry Conference (CIC) tests, CAPA-certified parts had mixed results at the most recent test in Minneapolis. A CAPA-certified hood outperformed the Ford service part, and a fender made by Ford was rated better than a CAPA-certified replacement part. Both CAPA certified parts were manufactured by Gordon.

Why the differences in performance? “This test illustrates two important points,” said CAPA board president, Butch Viccellio. “CAPA has learned through its detailed parts testing process that some car company parts lack consistency in fit, finish and acceptability. It also further proves that CAPA’s new vehicle test fit (VTF) requirement produces parts with a superior fit.”

CAPA added the VTF program to its list of certification requirements in 1999. Since that time, all parts submitted for certification must pass a VTF before becoming certified. The CAPA certified hood that performed well in the CIC test was certified after passing a VTF. CAPA certified the fender before implementing the VTF, and it did not fit as well.

Due to the success of the VTF, CAPA recently retested the fit of 75 of its most frequently used parts that it certified before implementing the VTF program. “This is just another step toward ensuring the quality and consistency of CAPA-certified parts,” said Viccellio.

“CAPA plans to continue retesting parts it certified prior to the VTF requirement. In fact, 500 parts are scheduled for testing in 2001, and the fender that didn’t fare well in the recent CIC test is among them,” said Jack Gillis, Executive Director. “Although an expensive aspect of the program, the VTF is improving CAPA’s value to collision repairers.”

CIC Test Results

CIC Test Results
Comparison of CAPA Certified
with non-certified Ford Parts
Fit Finish Overall Acceptability
CAPA Certified Hood 3.46 3.48 83.3%
Ford Service Hood 2.26 3.24 16.0%
CAPA Certified Fender 2.09 3.17 16.7%
Ford Service Fender 3.04 3.27 60.2%
CAPA Certified Parts (Minn. Avg.) 2.78 3.33 50%
Ford Service Parts (Minn. Avg.) 2.65 3.26 38.1%

CIC Testing Procedure

In the blind test, participants judged two car company parts and two CAPA-certified aftermarket parts on fit, finish and overall acceptability. Other non-CAPA aftermarket parts were also compared to their car company counterparts.

The test’s sequence was carefully orchestrated. Before changing parts on the test vehicle, the fit of the manufacturer’s assembly line parts were rated. Original parts were then replaced with either car company service parts or aftermarket replacement parts. The parts were rated for fit, finish and overall acceptability by evaluators who were unaware of the source of the parts they were rating. The fit and finish were rated 1 to 5, with 5 being best.

CAPA’s VTF Program

“CAPA’s vehicle test fit program is one of many factors that place CAPA-certified parts above other aftermarket parts in the industry. It has been a definite factor in our ongoing success in the blind test fits conducted by CIC and others. These required vehicle test fits bring our quality and consistency to a level that is exclusive to the CAPA organization,” said Viccellio.

Here’s how CAPA’s vehicle test fit works. Once the part passes CAPA’s extensive material and appearance requirements, the manufacturer selects three parts from the first production run and ships them to CAPA. CAPA then purchases 2 car company service parts and uses an undamaged vehicle with verified upper and lower body measurements to compare the parts. The original equipment specifications are the basis for approving the aftermarket part for certification. The process includes a complete comparison of the gap, flush, holes, bracketry, ease of installation and other factors.

For details on recent CIC parts tests, see the CIC Web site: For more information on the Certified Automotive Parts Association,

Contact: Jack Gillis
(202) 737-2212

The Certified Automotive Parts Association is the nation’s only independent, non-profit, third party crash parts quality certification organization.


CAPA Adds Collision Repairer and Insurer to Board:

Board Acknowledges Service by Clark Plucinski

Washington, DC: CAPA continues to broaden the expertise of its board with the election of Jerry Kottschade, Jerry’s Body Shop in Mankota, Minnesota and Robert Lockwood, Harleysville Insurance in Harleysville, Pennsylvania. Mr. Kottschade is filling the collision repairer position vacated by Clark Plucinski, who recently completed his second three-year term on the Board. Mr. Lockwood has been elected to fill the newly added insurer position to the Board.

Early last year, the Board agreed to equalize the number of insurers and non-insurers serving on the Board by authorizing an expansion of the Board to seven non-insurers and seven insurers. Subsequently, a seat was added on the Board for the Executive Director, bringing the total to 15 members. This is a change from the previous composition of six insurers and three non-insurers.

At his final meeting after serving on the CAPA board for two terms (6 years), Clark Plucinksi was acknowledged by the CAPA Board and Executive Director for the incredible service he has provided as a board member in furthering CAPA’s goal of providing the market with high quality, competitive parts. “His efforts and insight have made a significant contribution to the improved quality of competitively priced automotive parts. His work has gone a long way to ensure that the American consumer truly benefits from a free and open marketplace,” said Butch Viccellio, President of CAPA’s Board.

“For years Clark has been a strong voice for the collision repair industry, never wavering in his insistence on developing an effective response to the quality concerns of his industry segment,” said Jack Gillis, Executive Director, “Thanks to his efforts, CAPA today is a stronger, more effective and more reliable tool for collision repairers who want both quality and competition.”

Following is information on the two new members of CAPA’s Board.

Jerry Kottschade – Jerry’s Body Shop – Collision Repairer
In 1971, Jerry Kottschade founded Jerry’s Body Shop, Inc. in Mankota, MN and has spent the last 30 years successfully building this business. Jerry has been a member of the Automotive Service Association since 1975. From 1981 to 1982, Jerry served as ASA state Vice President, and then as President from 1983-1984. He has also served as ASA National Regional Director (1985-1986); Director of the ASA Collision Division (1990-1992); Chairman of the Salvage Adhoc Committee (1993-1994); ASA National Secretary-Treasurer (1993-1994); ASA National Board of Directors (1990-1994); Chairman Elect (1995); and Chairman of the Board (1996).

Jerry has also served the collision repair industry outside of the ASA. He has held a seat on the Moog Advisory Counsel (1984) and ASE National Board of Directors (1983-1989). He was Body Shop Business Collision Repair Shop Executive of the Year (1992), and served as NACE Advisory Chairman (1990-1994). He served as a member of CAPA’s Technical Committee from 1995-2000 and was the winner of the 3M/Arms Achievement Award (1985). Jerry is currently a member of the ADP Advisory Committee, CAPA’s Collision Repairer Advisory Group, Allstate’s PRO Advisory Board, I-CAR, and ADP Technical Paint Refinish Committee.

He graduated from Winona Technical College and Mankato State University with a degree in Business Administration. Jerry now lives in Mankato, Minnesota with his wife and two children.

Robert Lockwood – The Harleysville Insurance Companies – Insurer
Robert Lockwood is the Senior Vice President of Claims for the Harleysville Insurance Companies. Bob started his insurance career in 1972 and joined Harleysville in 1982 as a negotiator in the Fort Washington, PA, claims office. In 1983, he was named district claims manager and was promoted to unit manager of auto liability in Harleysville’s home office in 1986. The next year he was named assistant secretary of claims, then vice president of claims in 1989 and senior vice president in 1991. Bob is currently chair of the National Association of Independent Insurers Claims committee, past chair of Arbitration Forums, Inc., and vice president of the Pennsylvania Defense Institute.

Bob is a graduate of LaSalle University, Philadelphia, PA. He completed the Advanced Executive Education Program (AEEP) sponsored by the American Institute for CPCU and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Bob resides in Harleysville, PA, with his wife, Joyce. They have four children.

The following are the current members of CAPA’s Board:

Industry Name Company Term Expires
Consumer Gillan, Jackie Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety 2001
Consumer Open
Distributor Smeal, Bill Smeal’s Enterprises, Inc. 2002
Distributor Wood, Kim North Star/NECO 2001
Executive Director Gillis, Jack CAPA
Insurer L’Hote, Tom State Farm Insurance Co. 2001
Insurer Lockwood, Robert Harleysville Insurance 2003
Insurer Notte, Nick Allstate Insurance Co. 2002
Insurer Viccello, Henry USAA 2001
Insurer Wilson, Tom Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. 2002
Insurer Open
Insurer Open
Repairer Anderson, Bob Anderson’s Automotive Services 2001
Repairer Keenan, Don Keenan Auto Body 2002
Repairer Kottschade, Jerry Jerry’s Body Shop, Inc. 2003
Advisor Hansen, Kirk Alliance of American Insurers
Advisor Hurns, Robert NAII

The Certified Automotive Parts Association is the nation’s only independent, non-profit, third-part crash parts quality certification organization.