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Fake car parts trade exposed

OVER A QUARTER of a million counterfeit car parts were seized in the Middle East last year, Arabian Business can reveal.

OVER A QUARTER of a million counterfeit car parts were seized in the Middle East last year, Arabian Business can reveal.

Members of the Automotive Brand Protection Coalition (ABPC) — General Motors, BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Toyota and Honda conducted a series of successful raids throughout the region over the past year. However, the trade in illicit car parts is still believed to be a widespread problem.

“The members are very pleased to announce that the total amount of fake car parts seized during enforcement actions last year was 300,000 parts,” said an ABPC spokesman. “This is a significant amount but, unfortunately, it only represents the tip of the iceberg as the seizure a few weeks ago shows,” he added.

A fake part uses another company’s logo and design to sell a substandard product through deception. Unlike pirate computer software for example fake car parts have the potential to be dangerous to those who use them. Furthermore, research conducted in Europe has shown that fake parts can contribute to accidents, although no such research has been conducted in the region yet.

As a result, consumers in the Middle East are not aware that fake auto products are in the region’s market place. Nevertheless, car manufacturers are trying to educate the public, through the website www.nofakeparts.com.

“Unfortunately many consumers appear to be unaware that these parts can cause serious damage to both your car and possibly yourself and others,” the ABPC said. “Fake parts have the ability to cause damage to your car through ill-fitting and substandard materials, this in turn may reduce its’ resale value, as well as being a contributing factor in accidents,” the body added.

Counterfeit car parts represent a real challenge to brands, owners and governments alike. The coalition, as well as the members individually, is actively working with several governments and authorities in the GCC.

“At GM we have a very active Brand Protection programme that incorporates three main strands: active sharing of information with the various regional Governments, seminars and legal action,” said Warren Hayday, brand protection director of General Motors. “This format has proved very successful for us and we hope that in 2005 we will have more success,” he added.

Another member who has been active over the past year is Daimler-Chrysler. The company has set up a training programme that has seen partnering activities in Lebanon; Kuwait; Saudi Arabia and UAE.

“By conducting these seminars for officials we are able to share ideas and issues more readily on both sides, as well as provide information to the officials so that they can seize more goods before they get into the country” said Ma’n Al Hamawi; brand protection manager, Daimler-Chrysler.

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