The Hazards of Counterfeit Automobile Parts

When purchasing automobile parts, you are making the assumption that the parts are original. Unfortunately, the growth of counterfeit auto parts is harming the auto supply industry, the overall U.S. economy, and puts drivers and passengers in extreme danger. What can be done about the problem? Consumer awareness! Let’s explore the effect of fake car parts on American life.

What exactly is a fake part? Is it an inferior branded item or something completely different? Counterfeiters are ‘wise’ in that they do not create and market a low cost alternative brand, instead they copy well known existing brands. The Jeep parts you purchase may come in a package that is nearly identical to the one marketed by DaimlerChrysler, but only the package is the same: the product you are purchasing is of an inferior quality [not equaling manufacturer specifications] that can damage your car. Reports about counterfeit brake pads have circulated for years; deaths attributed to accidents involving fake parts have been recorded.

According to the Department of Commerce, the US economy loses approximately $200 billion a year from the counterfeiting of trademarked consumer products and as many as 210,000 jobs have been lost. Worldwide, it is estimated that as much as 9% of the global economy is based on trafficked counterfeit goods, many of these items being auto parts. In Germany, fake VW parts as well as counterfeit BMW parts have surfaced compromising the quality and safety of the two brands.

So, what products are especially prone to being copied? Unfortunately, virtually everything. The following, are some of the items reported by the original equipment manufacturers to be frequent targets of counterfeiting and the “ingredients” they contain:

Brake pads containing sawdust

Fire extinguishers filled with flour

Transmission fluid laced with dyed oil

Filter stuffed with rags

Here are a few things to keep in mind when purchasing new auto parts:

To avoid purchasing counterfeit products only shop with a reputable supplier; e.g. authentic VW parts as well as manfacturer made BMW parts will be sold by recognized online providers. If a part somehow manages to find its way into the inventory of a respected auto parts supplier, you can return or an exchange the item.

The price of an item on eBay or at the flea market is probably “too good to be true” for a reason. Counterfeiters use flea markets extensively to market their wares while eBay and some other auction sites are notorious for passing inferior products.

Examine the packaging and check for incorrect spelling. Ford auto filters have appeared on auto supplier shelves with the words “Food” substituted for Ford and “Motograft” for Motorcraft.

The trafficking of counterfeit auto parts will likely be a long term problem, so you – the consumer – can play an important part by shopping wisely and examining the part before you install it on your vehicle. The safety of you and your loved ones can be compromised without exercising diligence.

Salvage Cars Significance in Automobile Industry

The business of salvage cars and the parts of such cars contribute to a major part of automotive/automobile industry in the US economy. It has provided jobs for thousands of people not only in US but elsewhere in the world. There are uncountable companies today which make their livelihood out of this business. In this article we will see the practical aspects of salvage car business, precautions to be taken while buying such cars and factors that affect the resale value of such cars.

The salvage titled car is one which faces damage in many ways like a natural calamity like flood or earthquake and mainly by a road accident. Such cars are usually rated with a very less value or even of no value by the insurance companies in the US. The factors that affect this value are the current value of the same car in the market. If the expenditure to repair the damaged car is more than half of its current price, it will be declared as salvage motor.

Then how do such cars get buyers? And how did this salvage business flourish?

Over the period of a decade these cars managed to get a good number of buyers, so much so that the business expanded its reign into the internet world. Not only the auto auctions are held in different parts of the country but also conducted in many websites. The resale value of such cars is individually decided by the buyers but generally, the buyers get carried away with the value declared by the insurance companies.

The reason for this is the extent of damage done to the car. Even after the car is repaired and is ready for use, it is viewed with high suspicions regarding the healthy working of the engine. The buyers generally used to prefer used cars over salvage title cars. Overcoming these hurdles, the automobile auctions performed considerably well in terms of specific salvage cars like Ford and Chevrolet. Sometimes the auto auctions even conduct exclusive ford salvage car auctions and Chevrolet salvage car auctions.

The buyers mainly look at the brand names of automobiles in such cases.

The online presence of this business is through certain websites which allow viewers to actively participate in online auctions and online sale and purchase of repaired cars, damaged cars and salvage title cars. There are two ways of doing this business; one is to buy them and have them in the junkyard. They are also called as Salvage Yards. Owners preserve them in a junkyard and buyers just choose a car of their wish and purchase it. Or even take a few parts from salvage cars and pay only for the parts. This type of business is usually termed as You-Pull-It-Yard. The other way of doing is to buy such cars, repair and sell them or even auction them. There are many companies and individual owners doing this work in their websites.

There are websites which sell reasonably cheap and good salvage cars online; which are mostly privately owned. There are also the US government websites which give information of different used cars like http://www.bar.ca.gov and http://www.vehiclehistory.gov. These are maintained by the government so you need not worry about the duplicate content issues.

As much as it is advantageous and profitable business, certain precautions should be taken while purchasing these cars from dealers. Be careful of fraud dealers who fake the authenticity of the repaired cars. Some tips to value the rates are: find out the exact value assigned by the insurance company of that car before purchasing it, compare the value of salvage car with that of a new car of the same model. By doing this, one will clearly know the genuineness of the proposed rates. Some dealers also include the repair cost into the resale cost. Exclude any such repair costs when you buy salvage cars or salvage auto parts; make sure you clearly have an idea of the market rates of all automobiles.

Find out about more dealers and junkyard from the store locator provided in various websites including the two sites mentioned above.

First Automobile Works (FAW) – China’s Aggressive Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Manufacturer – Part 1

China FAW Group Corporation is currently billed as the number one automobile maker in China, and is also one of the oldest in the industry, dating back to 1953. FAW Group, or more commonly know as simply FAW, has a wide-ranging base of products, from passenger cars, mini (utility) vehicles, sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and pickup trucks, to commercial trucks, buses and coaches.

FAW also makes components and parts such as wheel rims, truck axles, engine parts and pumps. In recent years, FAW also entered several joint ventures with Toyota and other manufacturers in other countries such as Russia. In fact, its joint venture with Toyota became the reason for the existence of the Toyota Prius. Toyota also produced the Vios and Corolla models through a partnership with FAW’s Tianjin unit. Aside from that, FAW also worked with Volkswagen AG and came up with a high-tech production facility that produces large numbers of cars every year. The company has now grown to become the China FAW Group Corporation from its humble beginnings as a truck maker, and from 1953 up to the present, it has remained at the forefront of China’s car industry. Until now, it maintains its truck market but has expanded and is offering high-quality cars to other markets as well.

Another market that First Automobile Works is currently tapping is the clean car market. The industry has yet to grow, but First Automobile Works is working hard to achieve its goals in the clean car segment. Aside from its continuous efforts in improving sales and production of its current market offerings, the company is also paying attention to the production and development of hybrid cars.

FAW and Toyota Collaboration

One of the most popular and significant advancements in the clean car industry is the Toyota Prius, a heavily marketed hybrid car produced by Toyota in collaboration with FAW. Produced a few years back, the Prius was released in China after Toyota and FAW entered a 50-50 partnership venture. The Prius is a 1.5L vehicle and consumes 40.5% less fuel than the 1.6L gasoline vehicle Toyota Corolla. Recently Toyota announced that its latest generation Toyota Prius will start selling in China in 2010. Despite the Prius’ relatively high price tag (up to 280,000 yuan or US$41,000,) Toyota has reason to be optimistic with expected consumer incentives by China’s central government to spur sales of clean cars including electric and hybrids. Source: gasgoo.com.

China’s automobile industry is very ripe for the introduction of hybrid cars. With the Chinese government wholly supportive and with the subsidies being offered to taxi fleets as well as tax benefits offered to consumers who patronize clean cars, car manufacturers such as FAW and Toyota recognize that there is no better time to introduce hybrid cars to the Chinese market than now. These efforts to further the development of clean cars aim to reduce pollution and relieve oil shortage problems being experienced not just in China but all over the world. Nonetheless, the Toyota and FAW partnership is also planning to release about 400,000 compact, medium, and high-end buses and sedans by the year 2010 to the Chinese market.

More hybrid cars are being planned for release under FAW brand. In fact, the entire FAW Group is expected to release around 1,600 hybrid cars before the year 2012 ends. During the same timeframe, the company is hoping to produce 800 hybrid buses. Most of the hybrid cars are planned to have hybrid engine technologies sourced from Japan’s top car makers. Its hybrid vehicle products produced together with Toyota are expected to hit the global market since Toyota aims to distribute said products globally. These upcoming clean cars will be produced at a special hybrid car facility. FAW has also shown its determination to see the said project through to the end by increasing its investments. There is surely a lot to wait for from FAW.

We’ll look at FAW’s work in hybrid buses in Part 2.