Fake automotive parts have been found in Australia concealed in shipments of parallel and aftermarket vehicle parts, according to an investigation by Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) initiative Genuine is Best.
The FCAI has been fighting against fake vehicle parts for several years through its “Genuine is Best” program.
They warn all motorists to only buy from authorised dealers and to avoid the temptation of cheap parts over the internet that may look identical to original parts but are counterfeit and inferior quality.
Fitting such parts may void your warranty.
The latest FCAI investigation follows major hauls of fake motorcycle parts in India in 2019 and a major haul of half a million fake and counterfeit vehicle parts seized in a raid in the United Arab Emirates in 2017.
FCAI boss and learner-rider Tony Weber says anyone purchasing parts outside the dealer network is at risk.
“The best way to avoid a fake? Make certain your parts are purchased from the authorised dealer network,” he says.
The latest CAI probe found more than one in two (62%) of the parts purchased in a Test Buy Program were counterfeit.
The investigations tested purchase batches from six separate import suppliers, selling parts to the collision repair or mechanic trade, or directly to the public.
Intermingled with parallel and aftermarket parts, the counterfeits required examination by brand protection experts to determine they were fraudulent. The 28 individual counterfeit parts identified included oil filters, air filters, spark plugs, vehicle grilles and keys.
Each importer of the parts has been alerted by brand owners to the presence of counterfeit parts in their batches and advised to alert customers and cease import immediately.
It is yet to be determined if the importers are knowingly complicit. Ongoing legal proceedings preclude the disclosure of the supplier’s identities.
Tony says the discovery was unwelcome but not unexpected.
“Each of these shipments imported a part that could ruin your day,” he says.
“The fact they were carefully concealed among other non-genuine parts indicates the level of deception these criminals are going to, just to hoodwink honest drivers who think they’re getting the real deal.
“We’re talking about low quality, criminally manufactured and distributed parts designed to deceive. We’ve done the testing, and we know these counterfeits will at best leave you with major repair bills.
Counterfeit spark plugs capable of causing massive engine damage were the most recent part added to the list of fakes encountered by FCAI initiative Genuine is Best. Other dangerous parts include counterfeit oil filters that do not filter oil, wheels that shatter in low-speed pothole impacts, brake components containing asbestos and in one case, brake pads made of compressed grass clippings.
Vehicle owners concerned they have been sold a counterfeit vehicle part can lodge a report on the FCAI’s Genuine is Best website at https://genuineisbest.com.au/report- suspicious-parts/.
All reports are investigated by the appropriate brand and, if relevant, shared with IP enforcement officers at the Department of Home Affairs.