Counterfeit car parts are often more profitable than drugs and business is booming
A number of automakers are facing chip and parts shortages, but the market for counterfeit components is booming.
According to Florian Adt, head of legal product intellectual property at Daimler, more than 1.7 million counterfeit products were confiscated in 2020 and the company supported or initiated more than 550 raids. That’s a slight increase from 2019, which is somewhat surprising as the automaker noted that many raids had to be postponed as many courts were temporarily closed.
Given the coronavirus pandemic, the online trade in counterfeit coins has increased dramatically. The company was well aware of this and succeeded in having 138,000 counterfeit products removed from online platforms. Adt noted that was nearly three times as many referrals as before the pandemic.
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Top car fitted with counterfeit brake pads
Although there are undoubtedly more counterfeit items, Daimler has mainly focused on safety-related products such as brake discs and wheels. These components may look legitimate, but they are often low-quality knockoffs that “don’t even meet minimum legal standards.”
The company tested a few of the counterfeit items and found that the counterfeit brake pads had “significantly longer” stopping distances as well as significant wear after a stress test. Daimler also posted a photo of a counterfeit AMG wheel, which had two spokes that cracked during testing.
Although the dangers of counterfeit coins are obvious, they attract criminals, as the trade association Unifab has noted that counterfeit coins often have higher markups than drugs. Of course, the best way to avoid them is to use common sense and buy parts from reputable dealers or companies. You should also be wary of prices that seem too good to be true and know that just because something is listed on Amazon doesn’t mean it’s actually sold by Amazon.
Counterfeit brake pad (left) vs OEM brake pad after strength test
Counterfeit AMG wheel (right) vs OEM wheel after stress test