By Elsa Baxter
Officials have destroyed some 65,000 fake vehicle parts found on premises in Sharjah.
Thousands of fake Mercedes-Benz spare parts worth more than AED8m ($2.2m) have been seized and destroyed by Sharjah officials.
A raid by municipal officers and Mercedes-Benz Middle East & Levant found 65,000 counterfeit vehicle parts stored in hundreds of boxes at a premises in Sharjah Industrial Estate.
“We believe that this raid sends a strong message to the others dealing in fake auto parts,” Ivo Kapitski, vice president and director of after-sales at Mercedes-Benz Middle East & Levant, said in a statement, quoted in local media.
“These parts are manufactured solely to make a quick profit. They use low quality materials and are not subject to the extensive quality tests that we perform at Mercedes-Benz.
“Although the customers may think they have a good bargain, we advise them to report any kind of suspected parts to their local Mercedes-Benz distributor,” he added.
The article needs to clarify if the parts contained the Mercedes Benz logo or were they compatible with Mercedes spare parts. If the logo existed on the packaging or part then they should be destroyed. But often manufacturers get the authorities to size compatible parts as they threaten their business being cheaper and at times of even better quality. Many motorists go the compatible route as the â€œoriginalâ€ is so expensive. Take light lenses which can be prohibitive in cost and at times unavailable at the official source. There is also another reason why motorists source parts via this route, a simple $3 switch is broken and you have to buy the whole assembly, a huge waste so you source the switch and repair the assembly such as a heater control. I donâ€™t support counterfeit products under any circumstances but donâ€™t assume all compatible parts are illegal. At times the cost of spares is disproportionable to their manufacturing cost and reasonable profit margin. As the brand owner has a captive market they charge what they like. Bulbs are a good example where the price differential is huge if you buy from a franchised dealer out let, yet a Philips High intensity bulb bought from a shop is of better quality and costs less.
Najeeb has raised a very valid point. If the parts were sold as original Merc stuff, then obviously they had to be destroyed. However given the way car dealers operate here (monopolizing, and keeping extremely high profit margins), I wont be surprised if they had thrown a fit simply because someone was using cheaper light bulbs. The official dealers for my car refused to sell a tube of touch-up paint to me claiming only dealers are allowed to have those paint tubes, and said they would touch up any spots on my car for 800 AED!!!
The system of dealership exclusivity should seize to exists along with fake branding of automotive parts. At the end of the day the consumer protection laws & regulations should equally protect consumers from fake branded parts and OEM monopolistic practices. Perhaps we still very far from this understanding in this part of the world.