News Archives

Bartnik Judges Plastic Repair Competition for SkillsUSA Championships

During the 54th Annual National Leadership and Skill Conference (NLSC) in Louisville, Kentucky, CAPA Aftermarket Industry Relations Manager Stacy Bartnik served as a judge for the SkillsUSA Championships plastic repair competition. Bartnik drew on more than 20 years of experience in the collision repair industry, including expertise on fit and finish to evaluate contestants’ performance.


During the SkillsUSA Championships, more than 6,000 career and technical education students –– all state contest winners ––compete in 102 hands-on skill and leadership competitions. Contests are run with the help of industry, trade associations and labor organizations, and test competencies are set by industry.


During the plastics repair competition, contestants illustrate their expertise by completing three different repairs on a bumper facia; tab repair, and two tears using flexible filler and plastic welding. They were then evaluated based on prep of repair area, products used, quality of sanding and featheredge, weld quality, finished repair quality.  The contestants had 90 minutes to compete this segment.


As the global leader in aftermarket part certification for more than 30 years, CAPA is dedicated to ensuring that the industry, and consumers, have the means to identify high-quality aftermarket repairs and parts, which includes design, materials, construction and comparability to car company brand parts.


Bartnik commented: “I was thrilled to represent CAPA at the SkillsUSA Championships, drawing upon our dedication to working with the industry, including the skilled workforce represented by SkillsUSA, to ensure high-quality repairs are done using the right part for the job. We are also committed to working with customers, industry experts and internal colleagues to ensure the needs of the industry and consumers are being met. Our partnerships with SkillsUSA and their Annual National Leadership and Skill Conference is just one of the ways we can ensure these needs are being met.”


Gold medal winners for this competition were Caleb Eyler from Warren County Career Center, Warren, PA (High School), and Johnathan Wolfe from Wiregrass Georgia Tech College, Valdosta, GA (College).  For more information on the SkillsUSA Championships, please visit

Why CAPA Certified Radiators

For over 25 years, CAPA has set the standard for truly, high quality replacement parts. Recognized worldwide for both the rigor of its fully transparent standards and for the dramatic improvements it has brought about in the quality of parts meeting its requirements, CAPA has now developed a legitimate means for manufacturers to demonstrate the functional equivalency of their radiators to car company brand parts. Here’s what we did and why we did it.

Read the rest of the article at

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.

Many of the CAPA-certified parts that produced such good results at the previous CIC tests had been manufactured using this new testing standard. The parts tested at the most recent CIC were certified before the vehicle test fit standard was in place. “This outcome could well be expected,” said Viccellio. “CAPA’s quality standards are better – as a result, the parts that are more recently certified are of better quality.”

While CAPA’s newer parts are outperforming parts certified using the prior standards, CAPA isn’t satisfied and recently started working with manufacturers to begin applying its successful vehicle test fit program to all parts.

“We plan to evaluate these parts via the vehicle test fit and will take any corrective action that is necessary,” said Viccellio. “This will bring our quality and consistency to a level exclusive to the CAPA organization.”

The two parts that performed poorly at the recent CIC test were certified in1996. Since that time, both of the parts have been re-evaluated as part of CAPA’s effort to re-test all parts. CAPA’s test fit engineers noted problems similar to those observed by CIC attendees during the latest test fit, and corrective actions by the manufacturer are underway. Pending those actions, and in response to the CIC test results, these parts have been decertified by CAPA.

While the CIC test fits verify the importance of the CAPA vehicle test fit program, the fact is, these parts could have just as easily appeared in a repair shop and caused problems for the repairer. “Through CAPA’s effort to re-test parts certified prior to the vehicle test fit requirement, only a small number of parts are being found to need correction. Before long, all CAPA sheet metal parts will have gone through an extensive vehicle test fit and any necessary corrective actions, which should serve to minimize this problem for repairers,” said CAPA Executive Director Jack Gillis.

Results of Last Eight CAPA Parts Tested By CIC
September 2000 – July 2001
Vehicle Part Part
Fit Finish Overall
1998 Honda Civic CAPA Hood 4.22 4.5 91.0%
1998 Honda Civic Car Co. Hood 3.39 3.63 69.0%
1998 Honda Civic CAPA RF Fender 4.00 4.81 92.0%
1998 Honda Civic Car Co. RF Fender 3.65 4.21 90.0%
2001 Ford F150 pickup CAPA LF Fender 3.40 3.81 61.0%
2001 Ford F150 pickup Car Co. LF Fender 2.94 3.36 56.0%
2001 Ford F150 pickup CAPA RF Fender 3.16 3.56 70.0%
2001 Ford F150 pickup Car Co. RF Fender 2.89 3.22 31.0%
1997 Ford Expedition CAPA LF Fender 2.09 3.17 16.7%
1997 Ford Expedition Car Co. LF Fender 3.04 3.27 60.0%
1997 Ford Expedition CAPA Hood 3.46 3.48 83.3%
1997 Ford Expedition Car Co. Hood 2.26 3.24 16.0%
1998 Nissan Maxima CAPA RF Fender 2.48 3.41 19.0%
1998 Nissan Maxima Car Co. RF Fender 4.00 4.38 100.0%
1998 Nissan Maxima CAPA LF Fender 1.93 3.00 18.2%
1998 Nissan Maxima Car Co. LF Fender 3.71 4.05 72.7%


CAPA News 2000

Issue #2: Table of Contents
Functionally Equivalent? LKQ? Similar? Equal?
Collision Repairers: The Cornerstone of CAPA’s Quality Program
CAPA: Who We Are … What We Do
Vehicle Test Fit Program
Some More Good News From CAPA
What CAPA is Not!


Functionally Equivalent? LKQ? Similar? Equal?

At CAPA, we’re often asked to describe how certified parts compare to car company parts. The term we use is “functionally equivalent.” We chose this term because we think it best describes how CAPA certified parts relate to the car company parts they replace. Simply put, CAPA certified parts should perform the same as car company brand parts in every significant aspect. This includes fit, finish, strength, material content, corrosion protection and more. We believe that the difference between a CAPA certified part and a car company brand part should be invisible to both the repairer and consumer.

We recently were asked if CAPA’s parts were of like kind and quality. Because collision repairers often ask this question, we thought you would be interested in our response.

First, parts certified by CAPA as ‘functionally equivalent’ to car company parts are, most certainly, of ‘like kind and quality’ in all significant respects to the corresponding car company branded parts they replace.

Many state and local statutes and regulations use the term “like kind and quality” as the standard for replacement parts used in the repair of automobiles. “Like kind and quality” is frequently defined to mean “equal to” the car company part in criteria such as fit, quality, performance, form, and finish. In addition, many insurance policies contain a requirement that replacement parts used in repairs be of “like kind and quality” to the car company parts being replaced, although the term is generally not defined in those policies. In both of these cases, the intent is to ensure that the use of a part made by a manufacturer other than the car company does not compromise the quality of the repair. CAPA parts meet the standard of like kind and quality.

By using the term “functionally equivalent” to describe the relationship between replacement parts that meed the CAPA certification standard and the car company parts they replace, we have chosen the most stringent of requirements. It is not a lower, nor less stringent standard than “like kind and quality.” However, both terms are intended to convey the concept of equality between the replacement part and the car company part and are often used interchangeably.

CAPA chose the term “functionally equivalent” because, literally speaking, “functionally equivalent” is a higher standard than “like kind and quality”: the former entails equality (“equivalent”) which the latter implies only similarity (“like”). Therefore, parts certified by CAPA under the “functionally equivalent” standard are most certainly of “like kind and quality” in all significant respects to the corresponding car company branded parts they replace.

Collision Repairers: The Cornerstone of CAPA’s Quality Program

Oh behalf of the many collision repairers we’ve worked with and who have substantially contributed to the improvement of part quality, CAPA would like to set the record straight on our long-standing effort to directly involve collision repairers in communicating their needs to part manufacturers in a positive and proactive manner.

Following is a brief snapshot of the efforts of collision repairers in developing CAPA’s quality standards over the years. Chances are, you’ll recognize many of the names of those who have helped us.

1989: CAPA’s efforts to initiate productive communication between collision repairers and manufacturers began in 1989. At that time, CAPA’s newly appointed Executive Director Jack Gillis and the first collision repair representative on the board, Dick Cossette of Lehman’s Garage in Minneapolis visited the manufactrers. CAPA chose to introduce the manufacturers to Dick Cossette for three reasons: his reputation as a respected leader in the industry, his keen understanding of the needs of collision repairers, and his excellent communication skills. Dick Cossette was able to clearly and directly communicate the needs of collision repairers to manufacturers.

Myth: Using a CAPA part could void a new car warranty.
Fact: Using a CAPA part does not void a new car warranty. In fact, it is illegal to claim or imply that the use of a part made by someone other than the original manufacturer will void a warranty. CAPA parts generally come with a warranty from the part supplier or the insurance company which has paid for its use. Ironically, both car company and non-car company parts have much better warranties than those from the car companies a few years ago. This is due solely to the competition provided by aftermarket parts.

1990: One of CAPA’s stalwart supporters and most trusted and turned-to advisors, Jerry Dalton, led a special task force of CAPA Technical Committee members to conduct an important evaluation of the validator. During that process, Jerry worked closely with many of the manufacturers and gained both their trust and respoect, which should be no surprise to anyone in the industry who knew Jerry. From a historical perspective, this was one of the most profound of CAPA’s repairer visits as it resulted in substantial changes in the program as well as the selection of a new program validator. Mr. Dalton’s visit over ten years ago clearly established a productive channel of communication between collision repairers and CAPA participants.

1991: Jerry Dalton, again, visited the manufactrers in Taiwan. This time he served as an intermediary in the efforts to fully introduct the key staff of our new validator to the manufacturers. Jerry made it clear to the manufacturers that quality was the key to their success and that adherence to the CAPA standards was key to making their parts acceptable to collision repairers. While Mr. Dalton’s knowledge of the collision repair environment was central to his success in communicating with the manufacturers, the most important element in his effectiveness was the respect he showed for them.

1992: Primarily at the suggestion of Jerry Dalton, CAPA took an unprecedented risk and invited some of the most critical and concerned leaders in the collision repair industry to Taiwan, for the sole purpose of continuing the efforts of Cossette and Dalton. The group included CAA’s Mark Ferrari and a future ASA leader, Jerry Kottschade who both invested a considerable amount of time to make this trip. Our goal was two-fold: to further expose the manufacturers to the needs of collision repairers and to show those most critical of part quality the progress being made by CAPA manufacturers. From the candid reports of all members of the group, both goals were achieved.

1993: The noteworthy Ferrari/Kottshade delegation set the stage for formally re-establishing the channels of communication between all segments of the industry that began when people like Chuck Sulkula started meeting with representatives of the insurance industry and others in 1984, prior to the formation of CAPA. In June 1993, CAPA again brought key collision repairers together with manufacturers in the first Inter-Industry Communucation Forum (IICF). At this Chicago meeting, over 40 representatives of the collision repair, insurance, distributor and estimating industry came together with nine manufacturers in what the nay-sayers predicted would be a disaster but, instead resulted in an incredibly effective communication effort. It was so successful that all parties decided to continue the IICF and since 1993, the group has met 11 times. Collision repair leaders who participated in the first IICF meeting included Bob Anderson, Mark Ferrari, Ed Kizenberger, Nikki McDonald, Clark Plucinski and Joe Sanders. Primarily because of the efforts of many collision repairers, all of whom made sacrifices to attend IICF meetings, the manufacturers continued to develop a better understanding of the shop’s need for quality. Without these early efforts by a significant group of collision repair leaders, the manufacturers would have little understanding of the needs of collision repairers. What is particularly remarkable about these early efforts by collision repairers is that as each meeting improved communication, the market in turn saw continued improvements in quality. This is because these meetings increased manufacturer understanding about the needs of collision repairers.

1994: In addition to bringing key leaders to manufacturing facilities, CAPA exposed the manufacturers to the real world challenges in collision repair shops. Shop owner Nikki McDonald opened her shop to manufacturers attending the IICF in Denver. Later that year, two Las Vegas shops opened their doors to a diverse group of visiting manufacturers.

Myth: CAPA parts rust easily.
Fact: Since CAPA’s incorporation in 1987, over 18 million CAPA certified parts have been sold. There have been only two complaints about corrosion in that time. CAPA parts undergo an industry recognized 1000 hour salt spray test to replicate weather conditions. They must pass the test in order to bear the CAPA Quality Seal. This test has been used by the automotive industry as a predictor of corrosion protection for years.

1995: Jerry Dalton, Jerry Kottschade and Clark Plucinski traveled to Taiwan for meetings with the manufacturers. In addition to working sessions with the manufacturers, these collision repairers visited several factories. They were able to explain how changes in the program were necessary for collision repairers to accept CAPA.

1996: Clark Plucinski asked Bob Anderson of Anderson’s Auto Repair in Sheffield Lake, OH, to participate in a factory tour and a series of information sessions with the manufacturers. Again, their efforts greatly enhanced the manufacturers’ understanding of the needs of collision repairers. In addition, because of Mr. Anderson and Mr. Plucinski’s interest in the process, the manufacturers successfully communicated the progress they were making to meet those needs. At the November IICF Beryl Carlew, Kevin Cook, Jerry Dalton, Al Estorga, Nick Gojmeric, Jerry Kottschade, John Mock, Kelly Roe and David Lee Spinoso met with the three largest part manufacturers. Again, they clearly articulated their quality concerns as well as acknowledged the progress made by the manufacturers.

1997: In Bethesda, Maryland, Clark Plucinski, Rick Paukstitus and many on the staff of True2Form Collision invested thousands of dollars in facility and staff time to meet personally with visiting manufacturers in an all day session with key collision repair leaders. Included in this unique effort was a detailed examination of the shop environment by the manufacturers. Because Mr. Paukstitus and staff took the time to detail key aspects of a quality part, the manufacturers gained a better understanding of part quality in the shop. The seven key manufacturers who participated, expressed appreciation for the efforts of these collision repairers who also included Tim Adelman, Al Estorga, Jim Heger, and Joe Sanders.

CAPA Calls for Collision Repair Members
Want to make a difference and be part of the solution? Well, here’s your chance to make a difference in the quality of competitive parts. Most people don’t realize that CAPA is a membership organization. Members fall into four categories: Consumer groups, collision repairers, part distributors and insurance companies. Each of these groups has representatives on the board. Most importantly, by joining CAPA, you can have a direct influence in the development of quality standards. We have purposely kept the membership fee low for collision repairers in order to encourage participation. If you’d like to join CAPA, be part of our program, have an influence in quality standards and keep abreast of the latest issues facing CAPA, you can send a check for $25 to CAPA. If you have any questions about membership, please give us a call.

1998: Clark Plucinski participated in another effort to continue what his collision repairer colleagues began in 1989. During this visit, Mr. Plucinski continued the tradition of open, effective and repectful communication that continues to lead to better quality parts.

While it is easy to criticize, thankfully, for the consumer and quality competitive parts, there have been many in various segments of the industry who have done much more than criticize — they have taken specific action to improve quality. CAPA appreciates the efforts of the many collision repair representatives listed above. Their efforts have had a profoundly positive effect on part quality. While it is well-known that CAPA receives a great deal of its funding from the insurance industry, it has been the collision repair industry which has had the greatest impact on improving CAPA standards.

1999: The Auto Body Parts Association (ABPA), whose efforts established CAPA, continued the communication efforts by inviting Lou DiLisio, Chuck Sulkala and members of the media to visit manufacturers. This grueling, 20-site visit resulted in a detailed report from Mr. Dilisio on his observations, as well as on the attitude and efforts of the manufacturers. We understand that his visit was extraordinarily well-received by the manufacturers. In his report he both acknowledged the quality improvements made to date by the manufacturers and made recommendations on what could be done to continue to improve quality. Mr. Dilisio, and the many collision repairers who have invested considerable time and effort at successfully opening the channels of communication, shares a large part of the responsibility for the continued improvement in CAPA certified parts.

CAPA: Who We Are … What We Do

There is much misunderstanding about who we are and what we do. In order to clear up the confusion, the following is a brief snapshot of how the CAPA program works

Myth: CAPA Parts are not crash tested like car company parts are.
Fact: Car compant parts are NOT crash tested. There are no federal rules governing aftermarket parts whether made by a car company or a non-car company. CAPA manufacturers build parts with the same physical, mechanical and chemical properties as car company parts. Experienced engineers test CAPA parts to assure their similarity to car company parts in all of these areas.

The Certified Automotive Parts Association is a non-profit organization established in 1987 to develop and oversee a testing and inspection program for certifying the quality of parts used for auto body repairs.

CAPA is not a manufacturing, marketing or sales organization. The program provides consumers, collision repairers, parts distributors and insurance companies with an objective method for evaluating the quality of certified parts and their functional equivalency to similar parts made by car companies. CAPA was founded to promote price and quality competition in the automotive body parts industry and thereby reduce the cost of crash repairs to consumers without sacrificing quality.

CAPA’s 4 Steps to Quality
Factory Approval Regular Reinspection
Part Approval Marketplace Monitoring

Factory Approval:

Before a manufacturer can submit parts for certification is must undergo a detailed review and inspection of its factory and manufacturing process.

An independent testing laboratory determines whether the factory is able to meet CAPA’s Quality Standards which are outlined in a 60-point checklist.

The Validator inspects the manufacturer’s:

Purchasing Tooling
Painting Inspection
Quality Control Operating Processes

After the factory has been approved, individual parts can be submitted for certification.

Part Approval:

The manufacturer may submit individual parts for certification. Test procedures are based on nationally recognized tests such as those of ASTM and SAE:

Samples of each part are tested for:

Material Composition Thickness
Coating Performance Corrosion
Mechanical Properties Form and Fit
Paint Adhesion Appearance
Fasteners/Hardware QC Procedures
Adhesion/Weld Integrity Identifying Markings

Part approval is a 5-step process:

  1. Master Part is Selected
    – 5 Random car company parts measured, or
    – Vehicle test fit used to select master
  2. Checking fixture is certified
  3. Part properties are tested
  4. Part test fit on vehicle
  5. Part certified and seal affixed

Regular Reinspections

After the factory and individual parts have been approved, CAPA continues to re-inspect for compliance with all aspects of the program.

Factories are reinspected for compliance with program standards every six months. 80% of the part lots produced are inspected. Each checking fixture is inspected annually. Random material tests are performed periodically throughout the year. When problems are uncovered, action is taken.

Marketplace Monitoring:

No manufacturer process is perfect, so CAPA regularly checks the market for potential problems through an aggressive complaint program.

Over 80,000 complaint forms are distributed each year. These complaint forms can be completed and submitted on CAPA’s website. In addition, a recall program helps ensure that decertified CAPA parts are removed from the market.

Vehicle Test Fit Program

In response to marketplace demand for continued quality improvements, a year and a half ago CAPA instituted a Vehicle Test Fit (VTF) program. Since March 1999, all parts presented for certification must pass a VTF. This is in addition to the battery of fit, finish, material and performance tests that are already required for each part. These vehicle test fits are performed at Entela, CAPA’s independent validator, in Grand Rapids, MI. They are performed on undamaged vehicles by a collision repair technician and are open to the public. If you would like to observe a VTF, please give us a call.

The VTF program is the type of program enhancement that CAPA makes on a regular basis. If quality problems exist in the market, our goal is to develop solutions.

Some More Good News From CAPA

With all the information (and mis-information) that’s been reported about CAPA it’s easy to lose sight of what, together, the industry has accomplished through the CAPA program. Here’s the good news:

  1. Parts today are far better than in the past.
  2. CAPA’s presence has even forced the car companies to build better parts.
  3. We continue to increase the number of parts in the program.
  4. We’ve reduced our dependence on insurance company funding. (Although current market issues are making that difficult this year.)
  5. We’ve served as the catalyst for inter-industry communication forums since prior to 1993 (well before is was popular to “get the different sides at the table”).

What CAPA is Not!

To try to clear up some of the misconceptions about CAPA — here’s a list of things we’re not!

CAPA is not a brand. It is an independent third-part certification organization that determines whether certain aftermarket repair parts, which are voluntarily submitted to us for testing, meet CAPA standards.

CAPA is not a manufacturer. We don’t make parts or profit from their sale.

CAPA is not a sales organization. We don’t distribute or sell parts.

CAPA does not test or certify mechanical parts. Instead, it concentrates on sheet metal and plastic parts used to repair cars that have been involved in an accident such as hoods, fenders, grills, and bumper covers.

What CAPA is:

CAPA Parts are the only parts on the market certified to be functionally equivalent to the corresponding part that was put on the car at the factory.

CAPA certification is voluntarily. If the part does not have a CAPA seal, the part is not a CAPA-certified part.


CAPA News 1999

Issue #1: Table of Contents
The Good News Car Parts by Manufacturer
CAPA — It’s the Right Thing Car Companies Cut Prices
Are We There Yet? Lots Decertified at Factory
PRIDE In the Marketplace
What’s in a Name? Vehicle Test Fit Program
Functionally Equivalent?


The Good News

While competitive crash parts and CAPA have been the focus of many articles in the trade press, there’s lots of news about CAPA that hasn’t been reported. Thanks to the efforts of hundreds of people, representing many industry segments, who’ve made the decision to focus on quality, there’s lots of good news about CAPA. Here are some of the things that have had a very positive impact on the marketplace and consumers. If you’ve been part of the vast and varied team that has been working to help ensure quality competition, these are some of the fruits of your labor:

  • Today’s competitive parts, especially those achieving CAPA Certification, are substantially improved over parts of 15, 10, and even 2 years ago — primarily due to CAPA’s presence in the factories that make the parts.
  • CAPA standards and procedures have provided 24 manufacturers in the U.S., Canada, and Asia with a clear blueprint for quality standards.

The CAPA seal provides all participants in the market with a way to:

  • Identify the best quality competitive parts.
  • CAPA parts are increasingly the parts of choice among collision repairers looking to reduce repair costs. (In 1998, collision repairers used 60% more certified parts than 1997—3.6 million in all!)
  • The presence of CAPA in the market ensures that an independent third party, who is not part of the purchase process and accountable to all, provides all parties with an indication of quality.
  • CAPA provides the collision repair industry with the ability to help ensure that the parts they use meet the basic material, content and performance criteria that are impossible to discern simply by observation.
  • CAPA provides insurance companies with a means to reduce crash repair costs without sacrificing quality.
  • CAPA provides part distributors with a benchmark to measure their vendors and a specific standard of quality on which they can insist.
  • CAPA provides manufacturers with the training and quality procedures necessary to produce a quality part as well as a means to demonstrate to their customers that they believe in quality.
  • CAPA provides the consumer with a choice—an alternative to more expensive car company parts without having to compromise quality.
  • Consumer Reports, in spite of their sensational headlines, had this to say in its recommendation to consumers:
    • “We support the goals of CAPA.”
    • “We applaud the changes they are making in the program.”
    • “We suggest that CAPA expand its program to cover bumpers.”

So there’s lots of good news in the crash parts marketplace. At CAPA, our goal is to use our solid foundation to continue to build the best program possible. We look forward to the support of the entire industry in accomplishing this objective.

Did You Know?-1
In 1998, collision repairers used 60% more CAPA parts than in 1997 — 3.6 million in all!
CAPA has certification standards for virtually every plastic body and trim part, but very few parts are CAPA certified.

CAPA – It’s the Right Thing!

One of the easiest things that anyone can do is sit back and criticize. Thankfully for consumers and quality competitive parts, there have been many in various segments of the industry who have done much more than criticize—they’ve taken specific action to improve quality.

Sometimes it’s a small effort, other times it’s a big effort. The point is, it’s simply much harder to make a positive contribution to the solution of a problem than it is to sit back and criticize. CAPA is where it is today because thousands of individuals and companies have taken small and large steps to ensure a high quality, competitive marketplace.

So who’s been making these contributions?

  • It’s the collision repairers who look for the CAPA seal before accepting a competitive part.
  • It’s the part distributor who actively responds to complaints about CAPA parts.
  • It’s the manufacturers who are investing thousands of dollars in quality improvements.
  • It’s the insurance company who spent millions of dollars on the decision to use only CAPA or car company parts.
  • It’s the individual repairers who, exhausted from a day’s work, took the time to fill out a complaint form.
  • It’s the trained CAPA inspector who noticed certain flaws and decertified the lot rather than let it go.
  • It’s the aggressive trade press reporter who held CAPA publicly accountable for its stated quality.
  • It’s the courageous collision repairer who took a risk in front of colleagues and said, “I’m not 100% happy with competitive part quality, but I’m willing to help CAPA make a difference.”
  • It’s the insurance industry executive who, in the face of adversity decided to work on improving quality rather than giving up.
  • It’s the CAPA staff members who, facing unending and seemingly unfair attacks, steadfastly redouble their efforts to see CAPA through the storm.


Are We There Yet?

This all too familiar refrain heard by millions of parents, is a question that CAPA regularly asks itself. The answer—no, we’re not. In fact, it is our belief that no manufacturer or manufacturing process is perfect and the road to quality is a journey, not a destination. In other words, to even say, “we’re there,” means we’re really not doing our jobs.

Are we where we want to be? Well, yes and no. Yes, in that we have an excellent set of standards that, if fully complied with by voluntary participants, will go a long way to ensuring a high quality competitive part. No, in that there are improvements that manufacturers can make in complying with the standards and there are improvements we can make in administering the program.

To help us on our journey CAPA places a high priority on outside advice. Six years ago CAPA shocked many in the industry by convening, for the first time, the key players in the formula for success. In Chicago, 1993, we put nearly 100 repairers, insurers, distributors and manufacturers in the same room, broke up into small groups and started a series of discussions that continue to this day. What was particularly rewarding was that we started to break down communication barriers that had existed for years and were the source of tremendous adversity.

Our groundbreaking Inter-Industry Communications Forum has now met over 10 times during the past 6 years. At each meeting two things always happen: channels of communication are opened between parties and CAPA learns something from the participants that helps us to improve our efforts.

A few of the changes in the program that came from the IICF meeting include:

  • Galvanization
  • A more effective complaint program
  • Communication of part availability problems to the manufacturers
  • Vehicle Test Fits
  • CAPA Total Quality Manufacturer Program [CTQM] (Discontinued as more manufacturers became ISO/QS certified.)
  • Re-evaluation of appearance standards
  • Recall Program

Today, the IICF continues to offer the industry with a sounding board to express concerns about the competitive parts industry in general and CAPA specifically. At CAPA, we know we don’t have all the answers. As such, we spend considerable time, effort and expense ensuring that those who care about part quality have an open door to suggesting changes and improvements to the CAPA program.

What’s most rewarding is that while CAPA is often criticized for its partial dependence on insurance funding, it has really been collision repairers and parts distributors who have had the most influential role in shaping CAPA policy.

“While CAPA is often criticized for its partial dependence on insurance funding, it has really been collision repairers and parts distributors who have had the most influential role in shaping CAPA policy.”

PRIDE: We’re a Proud Supporter

Let’s face it; collision repairers get a bum rap. The fact is, bringing a car back to life from a crash is a very difficult task. It’s not like replacing mechanical parts. In fact, it’s almost an art form requiring skill, knowledge and a special sense of design. Many of us could replace a spark plug or an air filter, or maybe even an alternator if we had to — but replace a crushed fender, straighten a frame and put it all back together and paint it to match? Unlikely.

On the other hand, a talented collision repair technician can make a car as good as new. And that’s no easy task. It requires special expertise, years of experience, sophisticated tools and the ability to keep pace with a rapidly changing repair environment. So it’s not fair that repairers get such a bum rap and a new organization, PRIDE, is out to change their image. Collision repairers have much to be proud of and that’s why CAPA is one of the sponsoring members of NABC.

Did You Know?
Manufacturers of competitive parts estimate that it costs 50% – 70% more to develop a part that meets CAPA standards than one that doesn’t.
It takes anywhere from 2 to 6 months to complete the required battery of testing for a single new CAPA part.

For more information, contact the National Auto Body Council at:

41005 W. Huron River Drive
Belleville, MI 48111
(888) 66-PRIDE

Or visit their web site at


What’s in a Name?

It is often said that one of the sweetest sounds to a person’s ear is the sound of his or her name. When it comes to crash parts made by someone other than a car company there are lots of names used. Unfortunately, many of these do more to describe the users’ attitude toward the part than the part itself. Here’s some of the names we’ve heard to describe the competition to car company parts:

“Imitation” “Counterfeit” “Knock-Off” “Taiwan Tin”
“LKQ” “Copy Cat” “Cheap” “Non-Original”

Each of these names carries some negative implications so, as you can imagine, we don’t particularly like them because they don’t accurately describe CAPA parts.

In order to give non-car company parts a fair shake in the marketplace of perception, we call the alternative to car company parts, competitive parts. Competition is a positive term that best describes what these parts offer.

If you’re part of the growing, diverse and varied industry segment that is looking for solutions to quality problems in the market, we suggest you join us in encouraging the use of the term “competitive” to describe non-car company parts. And remember, when it comes to competitive parts, you have two choices: parts that meet CAPA’s quality standards and parts that don’t.

Did You Know?
Since 1988, over 15,000,000 CAPA parts have been used by collision repairers!

Functionally Equivalent? LKQ? Similar? Equal?

At CAPA, we’re often asked to describe how certified parts compare to car company parts. The term we use is “functionally equivalent.” We chose this term because we think it best describes how CAPA parts relate to the car company parts they are designed to replace. Simply put, CAPA certified parts should perform the same as car company parts in every significant aspect. This includes fit, finish, strength, material content, corrosion protection and more. We believe that the use of a part meeting CAPA standards should be invisible to both the repairer and consumer.

The term “functionally equivalent” is not used to hide, cover-up, or disguise our intent to provide a quality alternative to car company parts. Instead, it’s a description that serves as a public acknowledgement of our goal and a standard for which we believe we should be held accountable. So the next time you hear us say “functionally equivalent” don’t think of it as a disguise — but as a public promise of equality.


Certified Parts by Manufacturer

In this increasingly competitive marketplace, quality has become a key component in how a company presents itself. Manufacturers participating in the CAPA program are no different. For them, quality is not only a stated purpose, but also an expensive investment. Many in the marketplace would like to see all crash parts meeting CAPA’s high quality standards. We, too, see that as an important goal. But it just won’t happen overnight.

Here’s how the manufacturers currently stack up in terms of the percent of parts they offer that meet CAPA standards. (Note: This only includes certifiable parts and is based on unique parts offered to the marketplace. The percentages reflect data available from manufacturers as of March 1999 but may not be the latest data. An asterisk (*) indicates earlier data.)

CAPA Metal Manufacturers % of Product Certified
Jui Lee 96%
Ti Yee *84%
Chang Jung 81%
Gordon 81%
Yung Shine 66%
Conjoin Key 49%
(Metal Manufacturer Average) 46%
Auto Parts Industrial 44%
Gin Ho Lian 37%
Tong Yang Metals 35%
Wel Lun 28%
Ensure 16%
Nan Jhi 16%
Da Juane *7%
San Wampum 6%
Auto Power n/a
Chung Fu Ching n/a
Yeou Wei n/a
CAPA Plastic Manufacturers % of Product Certified
Polywheels 88%
(Plastic Manufacturer Average) 69%
AutoLign (formerly the Colonels) *49%
Tong Yang Plastics n/a


Car Companies Cut Prices on Crash Parts

Nissan reduced the price of certain grilles, front bumper fascias and reinforcements for both Nissan and Inifiniti vehicles by as much as 40%. “The move is designed to enable the collision repair shops and dealers to purchase genuine Nissan parts at prices competitive with those of aftermarket parts.” (ABRN On Line May 98)

Ford Cuts Bumper Fascia Prices Again ” The new list prices average 7.2% below previous list prices and apply to the 41 bumper fascias…Ford launched the program to increase its competitiveness in the bumper fascia parts segment.” (Ford Press Release)

Toyota: “To improve customer satisfaction and reduce the cost of vehicle ownership, Toyota has reduced the prices of the 70 most frequently replaced crash parts by an average of 20%.” (Toyota Press Release)

Did You Know?
Car Company parts prices react to competition. Here’s what happened to a Toyota Camry fender:
1994 1995 1996
$265.79 $259.96 $143.88


Lots Decertified at the Factory

Our inspectors check 80% of the certified part lots manufactured.

One of our goals is to make sure parts that don’t meet our standards never leave the factory with a CAPA seal. Here’s a snapshot of the number of part lots we’ve decertified at the factory.


You won’t see these parts in the market with a CAPA Seal.


CAPA in the Marketplace

The CAPA seal is the keystone of the certification program. Each and every certified part has a separate seal with a unique number. As a primary source of funding for the program, manufacturers purchase these seals from CAPA at a cost of $.75 each. The table below shows the number of seals sold to manufacturers in ’97 and ’98 as well as our projections for ’99. This is a good indicator of the number of parts used in the marketplace.



Vehicle Test Fit Program

In response to marketplace demand for continued quality improvements, CAPA has instituted a Vehicle Test Fit (VTF) program. As of March 1, 1999 all parts presented for certification must pass a VTF. This is in addition to the battery of fit, finish, material and performance tests that are already required for each part. In addition, all parts receiving five complaints in a 12-month period must undergo a VTF. These vehicle test fits will be performed at Entela, CAPA’s independent validator, in Grand Rapids, MI. They will be performed on undamaged vehicles by a certified collision repair technician and open to the public. If you would like to observe a VTF, contact CAPA.

The VTF program is the type of program enhancement that CAPA makes on a regular basis. If quality problems exist in the market, our goal is to develop solutions.