Honda and Geely Join Forces to Stop Counterfeit Spare Parts in China
In total, eleven major carmakers have formed a loose alliance in China with the aim of stopping the flood of counterfeit car parts in China, which just happens to be the world’s largest car market. The alliance will be working with the Chinese authorities and the online sales platform, Alibaba, to stem the flow of potentially dangerous parts that are being used not just in China but around the globe.
The alliance was primarily forged by Honda and includes the likes of VW, Volvo, Lotus, Land Rover and Toyota, as well as Geely (China’s largest manufacturer) and Chongqing Changan Motors. The drive for the alliance came after Honda’s North American subsidiary funded fake airbags on an e-commerce platform. All the companies in the alliance will share information on trademark violations, but as Beijing has already found out when they tried to crackdown on the manufacturers of fake brake parts, the producers will find ever more complex ways to beat the system.
Having Alibaba as a member of the alliance is crucial as this e-commerce platform handles a vast amount of sales for online autoparts both in China and beyond. Chinese Police has already used information from Alibaba to determine the amount of business involving counterfeit companies and set a fine in proportion to the value of the transactions. The alliance will also use the likes of Weibo and microbloggers to raise awareness about the dangers of installing counterfeit items on your car.
To date, it may seem like the initiative has started to see some success even before it got started, with Honda reporting about 70,000 problematic parts in China last year compared to 190,000 in 2018.
But in 2022, for just the first six months of the year, they reported 65,000 problematic parts.
The scale of the business could be vast. Just recently, a shipment of parts was stopped by US Customs consisting of 5,657 parts that included locks, hinges, powered mirrors, steering wheel switches, lights, grilles and bumpers with a street price of USD295,000. The global trade is costing car manufacturers billions of dollars a year in lost sales and quite possibly making driving that little bit less safe.
China has a history of lax copyright control but of late, as some of the homegrown brands are developing their very own intellectual property, there seems to be growing pressure to control the market. But in a country that has Bugo Hoss, Stars and Bucks Coffee, Rid Bull and, of course, Dolce and Banana, I think that they will never stop the flow altogether.
Close but no Cigar…
I wonder if they close without warning…
I wonder what the music sounds like?