Acting on a tip from Australia, Chinese police seize 33,000 counterfeit Toyota car parts with an estimated value of more than A$1 million ($737,000).
The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries says a significant proportion of the haul had been destined for sale in Australia, but police put an end to this with their raid in Guangzhou City in Southeast China, using information provided by Toyota Australia.
The fake parts included everything from filters, cables and seals to safety-critical items such as airbags, brake master cylinders and brake pads. Authorities also seized 55,000 packages branded in the style of Toyota Genuine Parts, complete with barcodes and serial numbers.
The parts were produced in a large-scale manufacturing facility. FCAI says the company involved in the seizure also is known to make parts counterfeiting those of other Japanese automotive brands.
Ford Australia has intercepted fake parts, including alloy rims to suit Ford Performance Vehicles models and air-intake snorkels and grilles for Ranger light-commercial vehicles. GM Holden has seized counterfeit body panels, alloy rims, grilles, taillights and radiators.
The Guangzhou raid resulted from Toyotaʼs recent Federal Court proceedings against two Australian retailers selling dangerously inferior counterfeit airbag components. The retailers gave details of the counterfeit manufacturer and these were passed on to Toyota in Japan, which worked with its Chinese subsidiary to orchestrate the raid.
FCAI CEO Tony Weber says consumers need to be aware of the global nature of the counterfeit parts business and the dangers of using fake parts in the service or repair of their vehicles.
Weber says the biggest issue with fake parts is the potential compromise to vehicle safety.
“While this seizure is shocking, sadly itʼs not uncommon and using counterfeit parts, knowingly or otherwise, means you're taking a huge risk,” he says in a statement.
“It offers a clear reminder to consumers that just because they see a branded box, bag or label they shouldnʼt assume theyʼre buying a genuine part. The way to avoid safety concerns posed by fake parts is to ensure you or your repairer sources genuine replacement parts from the vehicle makerʼs authorized supply chain.
The FCAI has a Genuine Is Best initiative focusing on the safety, performance and durability benefits delivered by genuine replacement parts. These are made or selected by the automaker and are rigorously tested as an integral component of the vehicle to meet high quality, safety and performance standards.