CVSN Tackles Industry Issues at Annual Business Forum

Nearly 200 distributor and manufacturer representatives attended the Commercial Vehicle Solutions Network’s (CVSN) Annual Business Forum last month in Baltimore, which featured sessions on a range of aftermarket issues, including the proliferation of counterfeit parts and the access to information initiative.

According to Angelo Volpe, CVSN executive vice president, the topics addressed at the meeting show the group’s push to add more general business content to the event to complement the focus groups and distributor-supplier, one-on-one meetings.

This direction will continue through the efforts of a CVSN Task Force Committee, created by the CVSN Board of Directors during the meeting to identify and bring forth new business issues and topics for next year’s meeting in Broomfield, Colo.

“There are many issues facing today’s aftermarket, issues that will be of strategic importance to the growth and success of aftermarket distributors and our supplier partners,” says Tom Stewart, chairman of the committee and president of Carolina Rim and Wheel. “CVSN is the only place to meet with your peers, no matter what your group affiliation, as we all share common concerns that need to be addressed.”

The task force is made up of three distributor and three supplier members.

This year’s counterfeit parts panel featured speakers from Bendix CVS, Grote Industries, Haldex and Truck-Lite, discussing just how widespread the problem of cloned, counterfeit parts are in the industry.

Haldex’s head of technology Chuck Kleinhagen says his company knows of 25 makers of cloned Haldex parts, 16 in China alone. He says those companies exhibit a dangerous mentality of “We don’t have to do validation testing, we copied yours.” However, he went on to say, during Haldex testing of knock-off brake components, it was not uncommon to see failure after 15,000 cycles while the company’s original parts need to last for a minimum of 300,000 test cycles.

Moderator Wayne Keller of Keller Truck Parts aptly concluded the session by saying, “Can you imagine how much cheaper product would be if they [manufacturers] didn’t have to spend money protecting what they have?”

In a session titled “Access Denied: Fight for Your Right to Repair!,” representatives from the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) provided a history and update of the Motor Vehicle Owners Right to Repair Act.

Aaron Lowe, AAIA vice president of Government Affairs, says the organization prefers an industry solution but “needs to consider legislative options as well.”

He says they have created a Commercial Vehicle Task Force that will survey distributors to gauge awareness of the issue and gather empirical data to bring before Congress.

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