Frequently Asked Questions
Q:How large is the problem of counterfeit automotive parts in North America? What is the value?
A:The overall size of the counterfeit automotive parts problem in North America is estimated to be in the billions of dollars. A study by Frost & Sullivan estimated that automotive suppliers lost $45 billion to counterfeiting worldwide in 2011.
Q:Is the problem of counterfeit automotive parts growing, and if so, why?
A:A 2016 Frontier Economics study estimated the total economic value of counterfeit and pirated products (not counting film, music and software) will more than double by 2022, and attributes this growth to the lack of resources committed to the enforcement of intellectual property rights, the recovery in trade since the 2008 economic crisis and the growth in e-commerce. A2C2 expects the auto parts segment to follow that trend.
Q:Are there particular automotive components that are more prone to being counterfeited?
A:According to the FY 2017-2019 U.S. Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement, the list of seized parts includes airbags, brake pads, wheels, seat belts, oil and air filters, control arms, windshields, bearings, steering linkages, ignition coils, microchips, spark plugs, solenoids, clutch housings, crankshafts, diagnostic equipment, suspension parts and oil pumps.
Q:What steps are A2C2 members taking to protect consumers and their brands?
A:The formation of the Automotive Anti-Counterfeiting Council was a significant step toward protecting the American consumer, as well as our members’ respective brands. The member companies of A2C2 work together to identify and eliminate counterfeit auto parts that could harm U.S. consumers. We also partner with investigators, law enforcement and prosecutors to support criminal cases when warranted.
Q:In what types of collaborative efforts do A2C2 and its members engage with authorities to identify and stop counterfeit imports?
A:A2C2 member companies are dedicated to supporting the efforts of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and other law enforcement officials. A2C2 routinely supports and provides training to CBP officials at land, air and sea ports coast to coast, as well as local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and prosecutors nationally.
Q:Has e-commerce led to a proliferation of counterfeit import auto parts?
A:According to the 2018 U.S. Government Accountability Office report to the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance Chairman, due to “ … the rise of popular online marketplaces, counterfeiters have greater access to the market and can easily sell their phony products directly to consumers. Because the counterfeiters frequently use stock photos, or simply join in on a pre-listed product, the goods are sold as genuine, and so long as counterfeiters can make the products indistinguishable on the outside, most consumers never notice a difference.”
Q:How are A2C2 and its members working with e-commerce platforms to take down pages with violative goods, block fraudsters from using their platforms, and otherwise combat the sale of counterfeit automotive parts?
A:A2C2 has met with key intellectual property and policy personnel at major platforms like Alibaba, Amazon and eBay to express our concerns, particularly related to the listing, sale and shipment of counterfeit airbags—which pose a very real danger to the American public—as well as other counterfeit supplemental restraint system components. Some online marketplaces have amended their policies to prohibit the listing and sale of these components.