RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – Al Jazirah Vehicles Agencies, the Ford and Lincoln importer-dealer in Saudi Arabia, and Ford Middle East are fighting the proliferation of counterfeit spare parts in the region.
To help raise awareness of the issue, Al Jazirah Vehicles co-sponsored the third Arab Forum for Intellectual Property Rights Protection this week.
“Al Jazirah Vehicles Agencies Company takes the issue of counterfeit parts very seriously, and we are pleased to be supporting this important initiative from the Saudi government to raise awareness of this concern and fight it,” said Sheikh Abdullah bin Fahad Al Kraidees, AJVA president. “We are committed to providing our support in the fight against this crime that not only puts the lives of unsuspecting customers at risk but also ultimately hurts their wallets and the economy.”
Customers expect parts bearing the manufacturer’s trademark to have been tested to ensure a high level of quality and durability. Counterfeit parts are not designed, engineered or tested to meet the same quality standards as the original manufacturer’s parts, and lack the warranty assurance from the manufacturer.
John McEachern, Ford Middle East country manager for Saudi Arabia, said genuine parts are designed and manufactured to strict specifications. “They have undergone extensive laboratory as well as on-the-road testing; they’re built to maximise vehicle performance; and, most importantly, they provide confidence that the repair will be done right the first time, and peace of mind as they come with the manufacturer’s warranty.”
McEachern said it’s crucial for customers to know whether they are purchasing genuine parts. “Counterfeit parts unfortunately cost much more over the long run as they won’t have a long life span, and in some unfortunate cases could lead to accidents or fatal crashes.”
Ford Middle East and its dealers are working with local and international authorities in the fight against counterfeit spare parts. The most recent achievement came just a week ago, when the FBI raided warehouses in New Jersey containing counterfeit auto parts. Three people were arrested for repackaging counterfeit products and selling them to the public and repair shops as genuine automotive parts. Some of the counterfeit products were destined for re-export to the Middle East.
“Criminals are finding better ways to trick customers into buying counterfeit parts while thinking they are genuine from the manufacturer,” McEachern said. “As they use smarter ways to fool the customer’s judgment, it is very important for consumers to understand that the best way to ensure they are getting original parts is to purchase them directly from the authorised dealer.”
McEachern said Ford follows strict procedures in controlling its parts distribution system around the world through to its regional parts distribution centers and to dealerships. “Our dealers are in turn expanding their parts distribution outlets across the region to ensure genuine Ford and Motorcraft parts are easily and readily available to our growing customer base.”
In addition to placing customers at risk, counterfeiting is estimated to cost the automotive industry $12 billion in lost sales annually and as many as 200,000 lost jobs.