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 www.capacertified.org.

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 www.ircweb.org.

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.