Summit 5
Attendees of the Legislative Summit 2012 develop recommendations for further discussion by the ARA Board
Over 30 automotive recyclers, state affiliate executive directors, ARA leadership, and ARA policy staff met in Nashville on July 16-17 for the 5th Annual Legislative Summit to discuss and identify legislative challenges and opportunities confronting the industry. Attendees helped frame the dialog and very actively debated how best to interact with federal and state legislators, policymakers, and stakeholders to ensure a continued and vibrant marketplace for professional automotive recyclers. Participants came to a consensus on over 21 recommendations for further discussion on these general topics:

• Unregulated Buyers at Auctions
• Industry Access to Parts Data
• Ability to Purchase End-of-Life Vehicles
• Defining and Enhancing Market Niche
• Exports of Parts/Vehicles to China
• How to Make NMVTIS better
• Education of Industry and Regulatory Stakeholders on Recycled Parts and Codes

The recommendations drafted on these matters will be placed before the ARA Board of Directors for consideration and/or further discussion at their upcoming strategic planning session early in 2013.

Not surprisingly, one of the major priorities on which all meeting attendees agreed is that ARA should continue to work to ensure an active and consistent government relations presence in each state to protect and promote the interests of automotive recyclers. This goal was the initial reason for then ARA Past President Sandy Blalock to hold the first Legislative Summit five years ago.

Another recommendation evolved from the panel discussion on industry access to data. Much dialog ensued on this issue, with almost every attendee commenting that the future of their business depends on having the vehicle data from manufacturers and  interchanges to meet both market and safety needs. After a very informative series of exchanges between recyclers who provided on-the-ground examples of why data is crucial, it was agreed that ARA should focus more on how VIN-related information could be made more readily available and useful for automotive recyclers. Special consideration needs to be given to reprogramming demands, data requirements on new, more advanced electronic components, and safety concerns of the dismantler (i.e., knowledge on details about extracted parts, such as how many and the location of airbags). 

This very spirited and interactive discussion resulted in another recommendation – that ARA should capitalize on knowledge that automotive recyclers have about which parts fit which car models.

Another panel considered the growing issues and obstacles confronting recyclers who purchase end-of-life vehicles. It was agreed that ARA should support efforts to create mechanisms to purchase ELVs, including participating in stakeholder coalitions and providing model legislative language for use by states.

Also, in an effort to define and enhance the automotive recycler’s market niche, the meeting participants noted that ARA should consider working with repair shops and insurers to ensure that the  selection of parts for repairs is based on quality rather than potential profit margins. It was further agreed that ARA should identify specific local players (insurance companies, repair shops, etc.) and educate them about recycled parts and codes. 

Attendees commented when surveyed that they liked the summit format and some suggested that they would like to see break out groups added.

As for increasing summit attendance, many agreed to bring another auto recycler next year to the summit. But, it was noted that the focus should be on increasing in meeting attendees who are knowledgeable about the legislative issues in their states.

ARA encourages all ARA member automotive recyclers to attend the meeting next year, which, for the first time, will be combined with ARA’s Annual Hill Day Meeting scheduled for mid- March.

Betsy Beckwith is ARA’s Director, Policy & External Affairs.

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