Australian Border Force (ABF) has confirmed training provided by automotive industry initiative Genuine is Best and Toyota Motor Corporation was pivotal in assisting ABF officers with identifying and seizing potential counterfeit vehicle parts.
The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) Genuine is Best initiative in collaboration with Toyota Motor Corporation Australia (Toyota), has taken a proactive role in combating the trade in counterfeit vehicle parts through ongoing engagement with front line ABF officers.
Counterfeit vehicle parts seized by ABF officers include counterfeit oil filters, engine air filters, cabin air filters and strut spacers. Testing performed by Genuine is Best has demonstrated counterfeit vehicle parts, if fitted, could cause severe engine damage,and may result in road safety issues.
An ABF representative stated the training provided by Genuine is Best and Toyota was pivotal in assisting ABF officers with identifying and seizing potential counterfeit vehicle parts.
“As a direct result of this training, a noticeable increase in seizures of counterfeit vehicle parts was achieved as compared to the same period the previous year,” they said.
“There is a tendency in the community to view counterfeit goods as harmless, or victimless crimes but this is misleading. Counterfeit vehicle parts, particularly those designed for emergency response, for example brake pads or airbags, pose significant safety risks and these consumer and broader community impacts can be significant, and sometimes fatal.”
The FCAI and Toyota have held virtual IP Rights Brand Protection and Detection training through 2020-21 to inform ABF officers of the threat posed by counterfeit vehicle parts.
In addition, critical tools, and information for the identification of both legitimate and counterfeit vehicle parts was provided to enable ABF officers more easily differentiate goods suspected of being counterfeit from legitimate before they reach Australian roads.
FCAI Chief Executive Tony Weber said the industry was committed to working with Government to stem the flow of illegal and dangerous fake parts entering Australia.
“Every counterfeit vehicle part seized is a win for Australian drivers. We are taking the fight to these counterfeit criminals and we are getting results. Our engagement with the Department of Home Affairs and the ABF is an example of the importance of an ongoing collaborative relationship between the car industry and Government.”
Counterfeit spark plugs capable of causing massive engine damage were the most recent part added to the list of fakes encountered by 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.
The global counterfeit vehicle part market had a bumper 2020.
In the United Arab Emirates over 300,000 counterfeit automobile parts were seized over 2020, with 21 raids conducted throughout the year confiscating fakes with a value of AUD$3.6M.
In China a special task force recently arrested sixty suspects engaged in making counterfeit car parts, seizing 50,000 items of and 32 production moulds with a value estimated at over AUD$20 million.
In the US, the Automotive Anti-Counterfeiting Council estimates the financial impact of counterfeit auto parts at over AUD$1.3 billion and growing rapidly.
Across the border in Canada, local Crime Stopper organisations are appealing to the public for leads on counterfeit parts, with the Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network estimating the domestic market for fakes to exceed AUD$20 billion every year.
Australian motorists who suspect they have been sold a counterfeit part should submit a report for investigation at https://genuineisbest.com.au/report-suspicious-parts/