Toyota said it has stopped a major Australian vehicle body part and panel supplier from importing, advertising and selling counterfeit grilles.
The carmaker said the grilles do not meet durability or quality standards, being constructed with inferior techniques and materials, saying they are likely to fail prematurely in Australian driving conditions. As a result, the sale of them is a breach of Australian law.
Since being investigated, Toyota said SSS Auto Parts, the infringing supplier, has withdrawn the counterfeit grilles from sale, offered a refund to purchasers and forfeited remaining stock.
Fabiola Dos Santos, Toyota Australia’s Brand Protection Manager, said consumers could have been misled into believing the grilles were genuine as they illegally bear Toyota’s trademarks. Dos Santos said SSS Auto Parts had also breached Toyota’s copyright through the unlicensed use of Toyota-owned images on its website.
“Toyota will act decisively whenever counterfeit parts are being sold to Australian consumers,” said Dos Santos. “We devote significant financial, technical and human resources to develop genuine parts and accessories that offer optimal performance, durability and safety benefits to customers.
“Our grilles are designed, engineered and tested to allow sufficient air flow to the radiator, protecting the engine from overheating. They are manufactured to Toyota’s stringent quality and durability standards, an assurance that cannot be offered by anyone selling counterfeit parts.
“Some people mistakenly think that buying counterfeit auto parts is harmless and a simple way to get components at a lower price. But the impact can be far worse than people realise as there is zero testing, no legal regulation and very little recourse for consumers if the part is ineffective or unsafe.”
Dos Santos said Toyota is working with the Australian Border Force to identify and seize counterfeit parts due to the growing number entering the Australian market.
“Consumers should not assume they are buying a genuine part, even if it comes in a branded box or has a Toyota label. The best way to avoid purchasing a counterfeit item is to buy Toyota genuine parts and accessories directly from an authorised Toyota dealer.”