Pirate parts: The battle has begun

Did you have a giggle at the daft spellings on the fake goods that littered the press in the pre-Christmas buying frenzy? I did.

The internet, too, is a goldmine of hilariously hopeless rip-offs. My favourite find was one audacious Chinese pirate’s ad for a fake Apple MacBook Air laptop, using a fake Steve Jobs to sell it.

You might admire their nerve if you didn’t know that this kind of activity routinely funds organised crime: drugs, people trafficking, terrorism.

Counterfeiting is big business and, although some deny its prevalence, it is a very serious threat to the aftermarket.

Right now, according to the experts, one in every 10 replacement parts circulating in the UK is a fake. And we’re not just talking ‘harmless’ accessories such as wing mirrors or fluffy dice.

The evidence suggests that the majority of counterfeit parts are now safety-critical: brake pads, steering linkages. The quality of some of the parts that CAT has seen is so shoddy that it’s surprising no one has died yet.

But yet is the operative word.

Counterfeiting is a growing trend in this industry and as consumers continue to cut their spending, demand for cheap parts will inevitably increase.

It’s up to the trade to resist this and to insist only on fitting quality parts from qualified and trusted suppliers.

That’s why CAT is making this our major campaigning issue for 2011. The aftermarket can’t afford the public backlash that will come in the event that a dodgy part does cause a fatal accident.

If you think this summer’s Which? report was hard to take, a death would make that seem like a walk in the park.

We know that CAT readers would be horrified at the thought of fitting a fake and potentially lethal part to their customers’ cars – and that’s why if you do come across a part that you suspect to be counterfeit, we want you to let us know.

Evidence will be key in the fight against fakes. Let’s fight this one together.

Published by emmabutcher

Emma has been CAT's editor since January 2008. There isn't much she doesn't know about the aftermarket - and her favourite topic is definitely BER!

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