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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Refurbished car parts. First of all, the law needs to be corrected.

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Due to unclear regulations, imported car parts destined for factory regeneration are treated as waste in Poland. The companies involved in their regeneration are in trouble. The losers are also car owners and the natural environment, warns the Association of Automotive Parts Distributors and Manufacturers.

When repairing a car, drivers choose different types of spare parts depending on the age and cost of the car. For newer cars, they usually use parts offered by car companies and their authorized services, but after the warranty period has expired, they use parts without the car manufacturer’s logo with great confidence. The choice here is very large: from the most famous manufacturers of spare parts through mid-price products to budget products. It also happens that drivers use old, used parts for cars that are already worn out.

Among the auto parts that are becoming increasingly popular around the world are factory remanufactured ones. This option is often the best in terms of total solution, especially considering the price/quality ratio.

Unfortunately, as representatives of the Association of Distributors and Manufacturers of Automotive Parts (SDCM) emphasize, the availability of factory remanufactured parts in Poland is decreasing. This happens for two reasons. First, there is the overwhelming urge to retail used parts taken from wrecked cars or worn-out parts that are no longer usable. This leads to difficulties in bulk purchasing of used parts as raw material for factory regeneration. Thus, companies that have invested in rebuilding factories are forced to import used parts in order to operate.

Regeneration is like importing garbage

And here another barrier arises for these companies and the regeneration process. The law and its interpretation are unclear. In recent months, parts imported into our country intended for factory regeneration have been treated as waste by customs services and environmental officials. As a result, instead of being regenerated at specialized plants, they become useless scrap metal, and even confiscated by the state. This entails additional costs and even leads to the imposition of penalties on entities operating in the industry. There are signs that in extreme cases, importers and refurbishment entities are finding themselves on par with the real garbage mafia.

How to throw the baby out with the bath water?

By definition, remanufacturing is defined as the activity of restoring the functional properties of a used part in order to create from it an identical product guaranteed according to the same principles. like a new and original product. The official strictness regarding imported parts for regeneration is undoubtedly a consequence of the scandals associated with waste entering Poland.

The authorities decided to decisively stop this. However, the consequences, especially in the case of parts recovery, turned out to be different than decision makers probably expected. As a result of the actions of officials in Poland, transport of auto parts intended for regeneration originating from the European Economic Area is being delayed. They are classified by regional environmental inspection authorities as waste and are permanently consolidated without the possibility of further use, despite their real value and potential. Such detentions involve the blocking of goods for many months and the lack of solutions, due to the lack of a modern definition and legislation that would meet the needs of technological solutions that protect the environment. Meanwhile, these parts are doomed to be scrapped, despite their potential. The chance of taking a used part and making it “like new” is often around 90%.

Representatives of revitalization actors emphasize that the attitude of officials is the result of the lack of a clear law and its interpretation. However, you don’t have to look far to find good legislative models. The new proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on circular requirements for vehicle design and end-of-life vehicle management makes clear that in the case of remanufacturing, the components or materials required for the process are never waste. Due to the legal loopholes mentioned above, customs officials inspecting shipments of parts destined for remanufacturing do not know how to handle them. In such cases, the case is usually transferred to the provincial environmental protection inspectorate, which recognizes it as waste, or is sent to the Main Environmental Protection Inspectorate, which again considers the case for months or makes a negative decision (primarily on the environment), condemning the material, which can would be used to the fullest – in vain.

According to SDCM, such an interpretation is highly questionable even taking into account the current legislation. According to Art. Section 3, Section 1, Clause 33 of the Waste Law, the import of parts for further recycling can be considered as… preventing the generation of waste. This is because reusing or extending the life of a product serves precisely this purpose.

The Polish government’s suggestion that remanufacturing car parts constitutes recycling is disrupting the industry. Enterprises operating in the country, both with domestic and foreign capital, become uncompetitive in relation to enterprises from other European countries. This has a negative impact on consumers who are willing to buy factory refurbished auto parts instead of new ones.

Environmental losses

As representatives of the Association note, factory remanufacturing of parts is an activity typical of the automotive industry and operates on similar principles throughout the world. Its goal is to reduce the negative impact of the automotive industry on the environment. This is the most technically advanced form of extending the life cycle of spare parts. It provides for their design in such a way that after partial use they can be restored to their original properties, like brand new parts, in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications.

According to SDCM, the restoration of factories also fits into one of the strategic goals of the European Union – the construction of the so-called circular economy. This reduces the EU’s dependence on imported resources and reduces their waste. The effects include, but are not limited to: new economic opportunities and increased competitiveness.

About 7 percent of the aftermarket automobile market consists of remanufactured parts. The popularity of these parts varies from country to country. In Sweden, for example, insurers are promoting them by providing higher rates for vehicle repair man-hours to workshops using such items. The use of remanufactured parts is also more popular in countries much wealthier than Poland, such as France and Germany.

EU announces changes

SDCM claims that Brussels wants to resolve this problem. The previously mentioned draft regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council (amending Regulations (EU) 2018/858 and 2019/1020 and repealing Directives 2000/53/EC and 2005/64/EC) clearly highlights the importance of recovery in the automotive industry. circular economy sector. The project draws attention to the need to introduce clear legal norms. According to it, parts and components removed from a vehicle at the end of its useful life and suitable for reuse, regeneration or restoration should not be considered waste. Taking into account the current rules, the proposal of EU legislation currently under discussion should itself form the basis for interpretation by Polish law-making authorities. The new regulation, once adopted, will also be directly applicable in Poland, so, as the Association points out, the delay seems completely incomprehensible.

Designed by: Marcin Klimkowski
Source: SDKM
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