Counterfeit Automotive Parts

A customer sent me an email saying that a part we sold was $70.00 dollars higher than the same part he found it on eBay┬«.

I had to look into this.

The part in question, a headlight switch for an Audi A6, we sell as an Original Equipment part, meaning it was from Audi, in the Audi box. Not from one of our OEM/OES part manufacture.

The part on eBay® looked the same in the pictures so how could this be? How could they be that much cheaper?

But than I noticed the part was located in Hong Kong. Now I got it; it is a counterfeit part selling under the premise of being an Original Equipment part.

And the other point that interested me was in the seller’s conditions you cannot return the part. A typical counterfeit part manufacture trait.

For a $70.00 savings what could be bad about installing a counterfeit headlight switch?

If it is not made right it can cause wiring damage, melted wire harness,the part itself melting in the dash, even a fire!

A headlight switch might not be that big of a problem, but what about Brakes? Bearings?

How does this affect you? Installing a counterfeit part might just lead to a minor inconvenience but it also can be a safety issue depending on the counterfeited part. 

Counterfeit Automotive Replacement Parts Problem.

The counterfeit part problem is a Global problem that has been going on for years, reported to cost upwards of 12 billion a year.

It was a big problem in the 80’s, Fram filter’s being the most publicized problem. Old tuna cans were made into an oil filter and stuffed with rags. If the part was installed on an engine, that engine did not last long. Hard to tell the difference from the real Fram filter and the counterfeit one until you opened the part.

Back than the counterfeiting problem was slowed down, but now with today’s sophisticated global economy and the increase in technology counterfeiting has made a comeback, big time.

Most of the counterfeit parts are tracked to the Far East. Cheaper labor and lax trade laws.
Some of the counterfeit parts are high quality reverse engineered copies of the original, they look and feel the same, but the components are not of the same quality, cheaper metal, inferior plastic, improper electrical components, substandard brake pad material and a lot more .

In pocketbooks or watches this isn’t a problem, but in car parts in can be a safety issue.
Even in our shop we have experienced counterfeited parts, mostly from customers who got the part at a great price.

We have seen timing belt tensioners that looked the same but fell apart when the car was started. Resulting in bent valves.

We had one timing belt tensioner that was assembled backwards.

An air conditioner receiver dryer where the holes were not machined correctly, we couldn’t keep the lines from leaking. We didn’t open it but we wondered what they used for the desiccant material inside.

A Porsche 911 Parking Brake/Seat Belt warning light assembly, wired incorrectly inside causing the wire harness to melt.

Had a customer come in with a melted wire harness because the counterfeit fuse he installed didn’t melt, that cheap little fuse cost him a lot of money.

We have heard of brake pads made of compressed grass clippings. Wheel bearings made out of inferior metal causing them to fail almost immediately.
 
Bottom line is if the price is too good to be true it is.

Amazon India to Sell Automotive Parts and Accessories

Amazon India has launched a new Car & Motorbike Store on their website which boasts of having over 22,000 products. The products range from engine oils, filters, additives, polishes seat covers, helmets, spark plugs, car vacuum cleaners, car electronics and much more!

The online store will provide customers with an easy access to thousands of car and motorbike products from more than 150 indigenous and International brands. Some of these brands include 3M, Shell, and Mega star, Vega, Hello, Philips, K&N and several others.

Samir Kumar, Director Category Management at Amazon India said that, ‘We are really excited to launch this store on Amazon.in. These categories are highly unorganized in India and have limited distribution reach to genuine customers. With a vast selection of genuine spare parts and accessories, a customer trusted shopping platform like Amazon India will serve its customers to their level best and offer them quick & fast delivery services. Customers from all over India will now be able to shop for various car and bike accessories with ease.’

The ‘Car & Motorbike Store’ on Amazon.in has been demarcated into four sub-stores, which are ‘Vehicle Care’, ‘Motorbike Accessories & Parts’, ‘Car Accessories’ and ‘Car Parts’. Within a few clicks any customer can shop for the accessories they need for the upkeep of their 2-wheeler or 4-wheeler. They can also choose from a variety of frames and fittings for their driving experience with the help of various riding gear such as helmets, protectors and jackets.

Mr. Ninad Gadgil, Vice President of the 3 M Automotive After-Market Division said that ‘We are delighted on this association with Amazon India. The Car Care category is seeing rapid growth amongst the Indian consumers who like to take part in maintenance and upkeep of their beloved vehicles themselves. This partnership will give us a significant opportunity to penetrate the metro and non-metro markets of India through an unconventional distribution channel.’

The company also confirmed that third-party sellers like Distorted, Velocity, Olympia Industries Ltd., Pegasus Premium and Auto furnish India have signed up to sell their products with Amazon India.

This is a total win-win situation for Amazon India since Flipkart.com; its biggest competitor in the Indian market too doesn’t have such a burgeoning array of spare parts and accessories. This will help them reclaim considerable market share they keep losing to Flipkart. Be sure to check out their list of spare parts similar to ours on their website to match product details if you intend to order spare parts from us to ensure that you order the correct product from us.

An Eye Opener About Automotive Parts

Why is it that so many people are critical about the price they are paying nowadays for automotive parts? It very often seems to me that people still expect to be paying what they would have 10 years ago for the maintenance of their vehicle, but they do not realize that there have been a number of changes in the service industry since then.

Firstly let us have a look at the aspect of the purchase of automotive parts by the service center and how things have changed in this regard. In times gone by the service center would receive a trade discount from the part distributor because they were a service center.

Well this is no longer the case, now the service center pays exactly the same price as the public for these automotive parts and therefore they need to make up this loss in income by increasing their hourly labor charge.

The next point which I would like to bring to your attention when you are looking at the topic of automotive parts and service, is that technology is changing all of the time. The service centers now need specialized diagnostic machines and computers in order to be able to service the modern vehicle.

All of this equipment is very expensive, but an essential for any service center who wants to be able to add value for their customers by giving them the best quality service and automotive parts which they possibly can.

So the next time you feel you want to blow a blood vessel when you have to pay for the service or repair of you luxury vehicle with all the bells and whistles, remember that the fancier your vehicle and the more extras it has, chances are that you will also be paying more for your services and automotive parts.