According to Alfred Gaspar, the president and chief executive officer of the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association, new legislation that is being introduced in the USA could help solve the crisis that has been damaging aftermarket companies, writes Ian Wagstaff.

Provisions of the bill are being considered by Congress, having started with the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on March 5. Hopefully they will be enacted this year says the AAIA. The huge number of frivolous claims that are currently clogging up the courts would be eliminated by the bill’s medical criteria that will decide who really is sick and thereby eligible to file court claims.

Gaspar states that coming roughly at the time of the annual Aftermarket Legislative Summit in Washington, “the timing of the bill could not be better.”

Although no longer used, asbestos has been a feature of automotive friction products for many years. Subsequent claims against manufacturers by those whose health has been affected by asbestos have caused serious problems for brake and clutch manufacturers, some of whom have had to take drastic action ­ such as Federal-Mogul’s filing for Chapter 11 - to protect themselves.