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Usage of non-OE parts grows in collision repair - report

The proportion of non-genuine or non-OE parts used in car body repair in the UK, has increased to 22% of all replacement parts used by bodyshops in 2003. Before the announcement of the new BER, the usage of non-OE parts in car repair had been less than 10%.

MFBI's latest report on the sector says the UK car body repair market is worth £6.66 billion in the UK and replacement parts including body panels, electrical and mechanical components, accounts for 46% of repair expenditure at £3.04 billion. The value of the replacement parts market for car body repairs has grown by 28% since 1998 despite a 1% decline in the number of repairs carried out since 1998.

The introduction of the new Block Exemption Regulation has opened up the replacement parts market to competition from suppliers of aftermarket parts that are of equivalent quality to the vehicle manufacturers' OEM parts. This includes the companies manufacturing the vehicle manufacturers OEM parts and the companies manufacturing the equivalent non-OE parts, sometimes known as 'pattern parts'.

Much of the increase in non-genuine parts usage by bodyshops has been at the behest of insurers who pay for 76% of all accident repairs in the UK.

MFBI's analysis of 30,000 repairs invoiced to insurance companies by bodyshops, shows that the average cost of repair excluding VAT is £1,208 in 2003, ranging from £973 for Suzuki to £1,590 for Subaru. In terms of parts cost, Jaguar is the most expensive make to repair with an average parts cost of £910 while Fiat is the least expensive make to repair with an average parts cost of £434 according to MFBI's analysis.

The increasing technical complexity of new cars means that the repair cost of heavily damaged cars is increasing due to the high replacement parts cost. Data from MFBI's report shows that the proportion of accident-damaged cars written off as being too expensive to repair by insurance companies has increased by 39% since 1998 to reach 0.59 million cars compared with 5.69 million actual cars repaired. *The Car Body Repair Market in the UK, MFBI, £750. Email info@mfbi.org

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