The market for counterfeit auto parts is booming. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission believes this market is worth at least $12 billion, and it shows no sign of slowing down. While there are many contributing factors at play, many experts believe that the internet is a primary reason why.
Criminals already seek to target those who do not possess a great deal of car knowledge, and who are instead simply looking for what they see as a great deal. The wide reach of the web makes this easier than ever before.
"The reason why counterfeit auto parts are so popular is because it's a complicated good," Maysa Razavi, external relations advisor in the anti-counterfeiting division at the International Trademark Association, told Reuters. "They're expensive and a lot of consumers, looking for a good deal, don't know what a genuine auto part looks like, versus a counterfeit."
"Some manufacturers are publishing guides that will help consumers determine what is real."
The mass proliferation of counterfeit goods threatens not only the bottom line of auto part producers but also the safety of drivers. Fake components are not built to the same standards as their genuine counterparts and are more likely to fail. This is why some manufacturers are publishing guides that will help consumers determine what is real.
For instance, brake manufacturer Brembo advises buyers to pay close attention to the prices of all parts they encounter. According to autoevolution, legitimate sellers may offer promotions from time to time, but they will never give out significant discounts. These are often a sign of counterfeiting.
Brembo also suggested that customers pay close attention to the packaging in which their components arrive. If it is incomplete, this suggests that something may be wrong. In addition, all genuine Brembo parts come with a special anti-counterfeiting card, which contains a six-digit code that can be verified at the manufacturer's website.
It's important to get counterfeit auto parts out of the supply chain. A vehicle testing service can help verify that authentic components are functioning reliably.