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10 March 2020

Counterfeit Car Part Supplier Stopped

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) member Toyota has stopped a major Australian vehicle body part and panel supplier from importing, advertising and selling counterfeit grilles.

The counterfeit grilles were produced for fitment to Toyota vehicles

Sold in breach of Australian law, the grilles do not meet durability or quality standards.  Constructed with inferior techniques and materials, the fakes are likely to fail prematurely in Australian driving conditions.

In some forward-facing radar or stereo camera sensor applications, a fake grille could potentially interfere with critical systems.

Investigations by the brand saw the infringing supplier, SSS Auto Parts, withdraw the counterfeit grilles from sale, offer a refund to purchasers and forfeit remaining stock.

Toyota Australia’s Brand Protection Manager Fabiola Dos Santos said consumers could have been misled into believing the grilles were genuine, bearing Toyota trade marks illegally.

Ms Dos Santos said SSS Auto Parts had also breached Toyota’s copyright through the unlicensed use of Toyota-owned images on its website.

“Toyota will act decisively whenever counterfeit parts are being sold to Australian consumers.”

“We devote significant financial, technical and human resources to develop genuine parts and accessories that offer optimal performance, durability and safety benefits to customers.”

“Our grilles are designed, engineered and tested to allow sufficient air flow to the radiator, protecting the engine from overheating. They are manufactured to Toyota’s stringent quality and durability standards – an assurance that cannot be offered by anyone selling counterfeit parts.

“Some people mistakenly think that buying counterfeit auto parts is harmless and a simple way to get components at a lower price.”

“But the impact can be far worse than people realise as there is zero testing, no legal regulation and very little recourse for consumers if the part is ineffective or unsafe.”

Ms Dos Santos said Toyota is working with the Australian Border Force to identify and seize counterfeit parts given the growing number entering the Australian market.

“Consumers should not assume they are buying a genuine part, even if it comes in a branded box or has a Toyota label.”

“The best way to avoid purchasing a counterfeit item is to buy Toyota Genuine parts and accessories directly from an authorised Toyota dealer,” she said.

Consumers 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 relevant brand and share with IP enforcement agencies at the Department of Home Affairs.

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