'The larger challenge the auto sector faces today is building an educated network of buyers and sellers.'

Harish Lakshman, president, ACMA, on the menace of spurious parts in India.

By Brian de Souza calendar 09 May 2014 Views icon3319 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
'The larger challenge the auto sector faces today is building an educated network of buyers and sellers.'

Harish Lakshman, president, ACMA, on the menace of spurious parts in India.

How big is the counterfeiting menace in the southern part of India as opposed to other parts?
Counterfeiting is a phenomenon across the country and is not restricted to any one state or zone. However, we learnt from various sources that the North and East zones are the largest markets of counterfeits. However, counterfeit part sales in the South zone are far less compared to those in the North zone.

What are the parts that are counterfeited, and are there any that concern airbags and steering systems?
I do believe that almost every aftermarket part is counterfeited. Fast-running parts like filters, condensers and eater plugs, brake linings, clutch facings, tractor linings, gaskets, seals and O-rings, ball and taper bearings, PC linkages and fasteners are counterfeited much higher than engine parts or seatbelts. Counterfeiting of engine valvetrain components is insignificant and that too it happens only in two-wheeler valves infrequently.
We have not come across counterfeits of airbags but have come across counterfeits in the steering parts, especially rubber seals and O-rings for steering gears and pumps.
Having said that, counterfeits are coming down due to advancement in vehicle technology and new-generation products in the passenger vehicle segment. However, in the commercial vehicle and farm tractor segment, the threat still looms large as the decision makers and actual buyers are not the end users.

Do you believe that OEs are doing enough to contain the menace, is data shared and acted upon?
We have not heard of any big action from the OEMs (vehicle manufacturers), except some sporadic actions like raiding a few dealers. A few OEMs are putting efforts in few pockets of the country but their efforts are mainly restricted to their own brand parts.

What, in your view, is the single largest challenge that the Indian automotive sector faces as it tackles the issue of spurious parts?
Tackling counterfeits is sensitive issue to deal with. Counterfeits are a threat to the safety of not just the end user but also to everyone on the road.
The larger challenge the auto sector faces today is building an educated network of buyers and sellers. The sector needs to educate the end-user base, build network of genuine parts sales distributors, dealers and retailers and ensure availability of genuine parts in the market.
In most cases, counterfeit products find their way directly to the dealers and/or retailers, who are spread across the country. Not all manufacturers have the resources to counter the problem. It is not very easy to identify counterfeits and added to this, purchasing habits such as that of mechanic influence purchases, purchases without bills/invoice, in India make traceability difficult.
If a manufacturer ventures out too much and raids dealers and retailers to identify counterfeits, the news spreads creating panic among other dealers and retailers and they hesitate to store genuine parts. It could strain the relationship with manufacturer’s own dealers. All parts manufacturers and OEMs in the automotive sector need to act together to counter these issues.

BRIAN DE SOUZA

(This interview is part of a larger story Spurious parts: A constant race that can be accessed at  http://www.autocarpro.in/ap/features/5549/spurious-constant-race)

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