Counterfeiting is such a menace that even the Federal Bureau of Investigation has termed it the crime of the 21st century. If you don’t believe this, perhaps some number crunching can shed some light on the kind of hazards that this activity creates for automotive businesses worldwide. For example, the global automotive parts industry suffers losses pegged as high as $12 billion a year, $3 billion of which is in the U.S. The total global counterfeit market is pegged at a whopping $350 billion. The Motor and Equipment Manufacturer’s Association (MEMA), realizing the grave situation of counterfeits affecting its businesses, formed the Brand Protection council to take matters of fake counterfeit products in the automobile sector seriously.
What are fake automotive parts? How does one distinguish them from the originals?
Some counterfeits are simply imitations of real automotive parts and look exactly like the original so as to fool the buyer into believing that they are buying the original. Other times, fake or counterfeit automotive parts are simply packaged to look like the original. Counterfeiters often utilize the same brand image, colors and font sizes to ensure that the packaging looks similar to that of the real product. Some of the most common counterfeit automotive parts are things like fan belts, spark plugs, engine mountings, wheel covers, alloy wheels, air filters, fuel filters and oil filters. Sometimes the products carry the logo of the original. Other times counterfeiters simply use outdated parts that have been thrown out by the original company or dealer, renew them with some work and sell them again in the grey market.
There are many problems associated with fake automotive parts.
Such grey market products affect the brand and the reputation of the original manufacturer. Despite being made to look like the original, these products are not the original product. Even though they may be sold at perhaps 1/4th of the original price, the worth is much less than the real product. The safety of your vehicle could be compromised, and it could have many different kinds of problems, from part failure to higher fuel consumption to higher levels of pollution. The most pressing problem with using fakes is that, while you might feel you have gotten a great deal in terms of price, you will never get the intended effect that the original product can offer. In terms of quality and durability, you will always be at a loss if you opt for counterfeit products.