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Fake auto parts a big problem

Fake auto parts are widespread in the UAE, according to the Automotive Brand Protection Coalition Middle East, but action is being taken.

Up to 30% of auto parts in the UAE could be fake, according to a spokesperson for the Automotive Brand Protection Coalition Middle East (ACME.) The problem exists across auto brands and the quality of the fakes varies considerably.

In some cases, customers are buying parts that are almost indistinguishable from originals at just 2-3% below the usual price. In others, poor quality parts that could endanger life are being sold at knockdown prices. An example quoted by ACME is brake pads that can burst into flames without warning.

“We are thinking about the safety of the people of the UAE,” says the ACME spokesperson. “If it seems too good to be true, don’t buy it.”

Companies that sell fake auto parts face prosecution under Trademark Law 37 of 1992. Punishments for offenders include fines and imprisonment.

ACME stresses that the UAE authorities take the problem very seriously and are keen to help in the fight. ACME does not instigate raids on suspected resellers of fakes — that is left to individual car companies — but Mercedes-Benz did carry out a raid against a dealer in Sharjah at the end of June. The ACME spokesperson says that the publicity created by such raids is useful, but that the pressure needs to be kept up through consistent action.

Fake parts apparently come into the UAE from “all over the place”, particularly East Asia and India, and some are even manufactured in the region. It’s not just smaller players that are circulating the parts; large wholesalers are reported to be knowingly supplying fakes to the markets.

ACME was formed early this year and includes Audi, BMW, General Motors, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Toyota. Its activities are currently focused on the UAE and greater emphasis on Kuwait and KSA is planned for next year.

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