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Automotive Aftermarket Industry Opposes Federal Vehicle Scrappage Legislation

Washington— Representatives of the automotive aftermarket industry vow to fight federal funding of old vehicle scrappage ("car crusher") programs included in the U.S. Department of Transportation's "Safe and Flexible Transportation Efficiency Act of 2003" (SAFETEA) which was released May 14, 2003.

Title I, Section 1601 of the SAFETEA would reverse a long-standing prohibition on federal funding of state-run vehicle scrappage plans through the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ), administered by the Federal Highway Administration. In this case, U.S. taxpayer dollars would be used to purchase and crush cars made in 1979 and before.

Under this program, states would use federal CMAQ funds to turn pre-1980 vehicles into blocks of scrap metal. "Classic" or "parts cars" would not be spared from the crusher. Salvageable used parts would be lost rather than being rebuilt and reused to keep other vehicles running.

In addition, there is no guarantee scrapped vehicles would be replaced by cleaner running or more fuel-efficient models. Scrappage programs typically offer owners who surrender vehicles for crushing a cash payment towards the purchase of another vehicle. However, the payment hardly is enough to cover the cost of even a down payment on a newer used car; and there is nothing to prevent someone from receiving payment for scrapping a clean-running and fuel- efficient 1979 compact car and replacing it with a potentially more-polluting, and likely less fuel-efficient light truck or SUV.

The automotive aftermarket is a nearly $250 billion industry which employs approximately four million Americans in all 50 states. It is comprised of independent businesses that manufacture, rebuild, distribute, retail and install vehicle parts and perform service on all types of motor vehicles, including the older vehicles this legislation targets. Vehicle owners throughout the United States depend daily on aftermarket parts and service.


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