Auto Service World
News   November 29, 2004   by Auto Service World

Questions Surrounding CAPA Lighting Tests


An industry quality organization is questioning the validity of tests that determined some aftermarket headlights did not meet safety standards, a move which could spur industry controversy.
The Manufacturers’ Quality and Verification Program (MQVP) Inc. says that CAPA, which authored the report, should withdraw it or defend it openly.
“MQVP was mentioned in the second study dated May 13, 2004, so we felt compelled to review the findings,” said William Hindelang, president of MQVP Inc. “MQVP Inc. requested from CAPA a full and open disclosure of all information surrounding these studies,” said Neil Stolman, director of operations. Stolman added, “We have sent 13 certified letters over a period of 6 weeks to Jack Gillis, Executive Director and members of the CAPA board. To date we have received no substantive, accountable response. All certified letters were signed for and confirmed receipt by the postal service tracking system.”
CAPA’s interest and motivation behind this study may not be unbiased. Independently produced automotive replacement lamp manufacturers are not in the CAPA program and the two manufacturers in the MQVP program have resisted endorsing the CAPA 301 requirement as unnecessary. The MQVP says it does not know why CAPA would perform such a test on parts not in their program knowing that this issue would cause a negative reaction within the industry. Information provided in their report raises more questions about their own tests than they answer, says MQVP.
“Why would CAPA hide? What would CAPA hide?” asks Hindelang. He added, “Their web site says they are a not for profit organization with a mission to be a consumer advocate and ‘promote price and quality competition in the collision parts industry, thereby reducing the cost of crash repairs to consumers without sacrificing quality.'” Unless this study’s results can be accurately and completely replicated, this is possibly just fear mongering. These and other independently produced parts previously passed DOT, FMVSS 108 requirements, and the manufacturers have some recent confirming “pass results” from independent labs. “If lamps have a potential to be out of spec, we want to know and react accordingly, for both quality and, more importantly, safety concerns,” stated Neil Stolman.
"If CAPA believes firmly in both their actions, motivations, and the accuracy of results of this test project, then they should be agreeable to an open and full disclosure," said MQVP in a statement, which further suggests that CAPA should be willing to submit to a review by a panel of experts from the OEM and aftermarket industries.
“If CAPA won’t agree to such an independent review or withdraw their study, then CAPA’s intent and motivation should be obvious and the credibility of the study findings should be discredited,” stated Hindelang.


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