From faulty air bags to counterfeit safety belts, it’s been reported recently that more and more auto parts are counterfeit – and that almost all of these “fakes” are coming from China. When you have your car repaired at a Kansas City auto body and collision repair shop, you expect to get genuine or OEM parts – or at the very least, quality aftermarket components. Unfortunately, many consumers (and auto body shops) are totally oblivious to the fact counterfeiting auto parts is a growing issue around the globe that actually puts consumers’ safety at risk.
Counterfeit OEM Parts
In May of this year, Homeland Security warned auto body shops to be aware of counterfeit parts, and to keep a look out for these products. Bruce Foucart, director of the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center for Homeland Security Investigations said that some of the parts they have seen during investigations of counterfeiting include fuel filters, smart keys, air bags, tires, and window shields.
Foucart said that literally every component that is designed to be used in a vehicle whether the interior or exterior has been found in counterfeit form.
Foucart believes that the majority of counterfeit auto parts are coming from China due to the fact Singapore and Hong Kong don’t have the manufacturing capabilities. While the goods seized in 2015 were comprised of almost 50% coming directly from China, nearly 35% from Hong Kong, and about 5% from Singapore, it is believed the counterfeit auto parts all originated from China, and were shipped to Hong Kong or other locations before being transported to the U.S.
Essentially, it is a simple matter for counterfeiters to create a website and sell counterfeit products. Some website owners attempt to deceive consumers or auto body shops by passing off counterfeit auto parts as the real thing, while others sell to people who are aware the part is counterfeit, and who hope they can convince the customer the part is as good as the genuine thing.
Auto body shops must take steps to ensure the parts they are buying are OEM parts, and not counterfeit. Foucart advises consumers to purchase from reputable distributors who can be confirmed with the manufacturer of the part. It’s truly a case of “buyer beware,” and everyone who drives a vehicle should be aware that counterfeit parts put safety and health at risk.
At Prestige Auto KC, we use quality OEM parts for replacement or repair. As Kansas City collision repair specialists, you can trust that we take care of your vehicle as if it were our own, and would never use counterfeit parts in any of our services.