GM Remanufacturing Programme Saves More Than 13,000 Headlamps From Landfill

General Motors says its remanufacturing technology, which is in use in North America on left-hand-drive vehicles, has eliminated 95 per cent of headlamp waste that occurs as a result of collision repair.

According to GM, while many components that make up a headlamp can be salvaged, headlamp assemblies are often replaced with less expensive aftermarket parts due to insurance company preferences on claims, sending many usable items to landfill.

In 2017, a cross-functional team from GM including Customer Care and Aftersales, Global Purchasing and Supply Chain, and Product Engineering, identified an opportunity and began developing a headlamp remanufacturing process with supplier Llink Technologies.

The process replaces the headlamp housing and lens, reuses internal components such as integrated circuit chips, materials, and fans, and tests each assembly to ensure it meets OEM standards and specifications. The headlamps also carry a two-year GM Parts warranty and are cost competitive with aftermarket parts.

The remanufactured headlamp programme launched in 2021 with the 2016 to 2019 model year Chevrolet Silverado, which GM said was “enthusiastically received” by its customers and insurance companies, to the point that every remanufactured headlamp ended up in customer vehicles. Remanufactured headlamps are currently available for select 2016 to 2019 Silverado models, select 2018 to 2020 Equinox models and will be available on additional vehicles in the future.

“With the initial programme launch alone, we’ve salvaged and repurposed headlamp components that would fill more than 100 semi-truck trailers,” said Jeff Goulet, CEO of Llink Technologies. “I’m proud of the work our team does to help GM meet the needs of its customers and support sustainability efforts.”

Llink Technologies can reuse between 70 and 90 per cent of each headlamp housing that is returned, while non-usable parts such as the lens, housing or damaged materials are recycled. Additionally, 100 per cent of the packaging – including the boxes and foam – is reused for shipping remanufactured headlamps to customers. According to Llink Technologies, up to 80 per cent less energy is consumed by remanufacturing compared to aftermarket manufacturing.

“We set out to do something new in the industry that was good for business, and that helped drive us toward a more sustainable future,” said Tod Stump, Manager GM Global Remanufacturing. “Since 2021, more than 13,000 headlamps have been remanufactured and there are plans to expand the programme. We’re excited to be the first to create a headlamp remanufacturing programme that can be a model for other programmes in our industry. It’s a great example of how we are bringing our cultural goals – being bold, looking ahead and innovating now – to life.”