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State Farm auto-parts trial documents 4

Editor's note: The following excerpted text is taken verbatim from personal notes of Jack Gillis, executive director of the Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA), that were entered as evidence in the auto-parts class action lawsuit in Marion, Ill. On Oct. 4, a jury found State Farm guilty of breaching its contract with its policyholders and awarded $456 million to the plaintiffs. On Oct. 8, Judge John Speroni ordered State Farm to pay an additional $730 million in damages.

Gillis Notes from November 1992 Taiwan Trip

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  1. Gordon: In general, factory appeared to be capable of producing high quality parts. CMM machines were present. Body shop representatives were very challenging and inquisitive. Most made very good points and Ting, who for the purpose of this trip served as both our driver and chief interpreter, was absolutely fantastic. He is our top inspector. Ting was responsive, articulate and clearly understood the concerns behind the questions he was asked. His demonstration of the "before" and "after" checking fixtures was excellent. Mark Ferrari observed some Pontiac fenders in a rack ready for EDP and saw problems with inconsistent brackets. I suggested that we pull three and put them on the checking fixture. They all failed miserably (brackets were way off) and Mark indicated that this was a common example of problems he had with aftermarket. The parts had not been inspected however a previous lot had been decertified. All agreed that this lot had to be decertified. There seemed to be hundreds of these parts in racks which indicated that they were not doing the 1st, each 100th and last part checks. Paul Riksen agreed that CAPA needs to restress this requirement and that it be done before painting. We need to find out the part's exact name and lot number and try to order it. All agreed that because so many parts were involved that it was likely to make it to the U.S. rather than be destroyed.

    Comments from Delegation: Welding jigs would have solved the Pontiac LeSabre fender problem; jigs should be relocated, no checking fixtures present; rewelding the Pontiac bracket, would have been impossible, "when it goes that far..its gone"; set up QC program, which requires sub assemblies to be checked; beware of spending 80% of our time with 20% of manufacturers.

  2. Ensure: Not a very good plant and the Haur Tay parts. (doors) coming off the line at the time were very, very poor. I could see the problems. We noted as how these were not CAPA certified so that's a good reason to insist on CAPA. However, it supported the notion of the Aussies and auto body guys that aftermarket parts were substandard.

    Comments from Delegation: Bad doors, non-CAPA.

  3. Yung Shine: Great factory, staff and Mr. Lin were genuinely pleased to see us. All were impressed with the factory and our inspector was at the end of the line noting problems that were actually somewhat minor but prevented the part from getting stickers. All were impressed. At the end, however, I watched a welding operation with Mark Ferrari (near men's room) and it was being done on a very inconsistent basis. I asked Paul to check on this.

    Comments from Delegation: Better kept plant, better part; Camry hood checked.

    Gillis Notes from November 1992 Taiwan Trip

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  4. Summax/Haur Tay: Disaster. General condition of the plant was poor, at the end of a relatively long tour we saw CAPA parts coming back into the factory after being painted at Ensure and as they were being unloaded at the dock, teh lady was putting on stickers. I was thinking, should I suggest that we pull a few of these and see if they fit the checking fixture...it would be a risk but...anyways, before I made a decision someone said, "let's pull a few and see if they fit...." First hood didn't fit, a random selection, fully painted, seal applied and boxed. Second hood fit within our tolerances, but exhibited gap problems and additional problems with ripples, etc.

    Comments from Delegation: Hood problems, hand crimping; hood latching assembly; no one impressed; "decertified", not using jig pins.

  5. Three Brothers: An absolutely fantastic factory where they were making Honda hoods and doors, tons of robots; etc., and the parts looked great. They have not submitted a part yet but it was clear that this was an OE facility and it made our facilities look bad. (Note: All of the ratings that Entela gave the factories we are to visit was "average" they must not have even considered this as this place was fantastic and there was great variation between Haur Tay and Gordon.)

    Comments from Delegation: Fiberglass checking fixture used.

  6. Jui Li: Mainly OE with little intention of more CAPA parts. Did not need to see except good for all to see OE Quality.
  7. Tong Yang: Huge Factory. Many metal parts uncertified, all plastic uncertified, lots of plated grilles, etc. Perfect example of huge demand for non-CAPA. Trying to get Ford Q1 and GM status. They claim that once obtained they will build all parts the same. Hard to believe but.... Saw many certifiable parts which were not certified going through their warehouse form other CAPA manufacturers. Also saw labels on many boxes going to distributors in US (all non-CAPA). One was Roberts which sent Parr ballistic as it was one he claims got CAPA only for State Farm. Check them and Body Parts of America out. Stressed to Tong Yang that CAPA must come through. At end of meeting Ferrari and Kottschade got up and tried to explain the market from their perspective. It was an incredible breakthrough. I was so shocked I missed the picture--and Mark said later that he was really afraid I would take one!

Gillis Notes from November 1992 Taiwan Trip

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Comments from Delegation: OEM vs. aftermarket diff.; potential to really produce; good target company; heavy dependence on repair shop at end of line, bad.

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