Tens of thousands of the fake and counterfeit car parts seized in a raid in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) late last week are likely to have been destined for Australia, say investigators.
The confiscation, in which over 500,000 fake and counterfeit car parts were seized, was the largest of its kind in Abu Dhabi’s history.
Raiding a warehouse and distribution centre in Abu Dhabi’s Al Ain city, the investigation netted parts with a value of over AUD$5.4 million. The 21 truckloads of parts will be destroyed.
Director of Nationwide Research Group Craig Douglas has 25 years’ experience working with a number of Australian automotive brands to investigate counterfeit parts.
“The global fake car parts market is worth almost AUD$20 billion,” Mr Douglas said.
“Dubai dealers have been contacting Australian automotive retailers offering to sell them genuine parts at less than local prices, and our experience has shown that in most cases those parts are, in fact, counterfeit.”
“Through our investigations over the last 25 years, we have increasingly seen spare parts for the major car brands being imported into Australia from Dubai, Abu Dhabi and other parts of the UAE.
“Our investigations have revealed that some of these parts are fake. This recent seizure of fake parts suggests the problem is on the rise and Australian consumers should be vigilant.
The raid was the result of an extensive collaborative investigation by the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) and automotive trademark owners. The fake parts emulated and bore the trademarks of 15 different automotive marques.
The seizure mirrors a collaborative raid in May last year that saw 33,000 counterfeit Toyota parts, many safety-critical such as airbag triggering devices, confiscated in China’s Guangzhou city by Chinese police.
FCAI Chief Executive Tony Weber said the seizure brought home the scale of the international counterfeit car parts problem.
“Investigators tell us there is a good chance that thousands of these inferior, illegal and dangerous parts were on their way to being fitted to Australian cars,” Mr Weber said.
“We have demonstrated the manufacturing inferiority and danger of counterfeit parts and this black market is risking the safety of drivers, passengers and pedestrians.”
Mr Weber echoed Mr Douglas’ call for consumer vigilance in the face of a growing issue.
“Counterfeiters are more sophisticated than ever. These inferior copies are so close in appearance to the originals that even professionals can have difficulty telling them apart until they test their actual performance. The only way for consumers to ensure they are getting genuine OEM parts is to purchase spare parts and accessories from the authorised genuine part dealers and dealerships.
“Manufacturers test and back the parts they sell. That’s why Genuine Is Best. Always,” Mr Weber said.