Car Parts Blog

“Grand Theft Auto”: Putting the Brakes on Fraud and Counterfeit Products in the Automotive Aftermarket

Salzburg, July 25th, 2019

According to the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA) the U.S. automotive aftermarket was a $287 billion industry in 2017, with projections of a compound annual growth rate of 3.6% for the next three years. This statistic is for domestic automotive only, and does not take into account medium and heavy-duty vehicles. Grand View Research estimates the global automotive aftermarket is almost half a billion dollars annually.

So, it is no wonder that this large, attractive vehicle segment is vulnerable to fraud and counterfeit products. Just drive it off the lot, as they say.

Law enforcement task forces are warning that counterfeiting of auto parts is growing at an alarming rate. And for those products that slip through customs, or are produced and falsely labeled brands are seeking a solution that instantly recognizes fakes with any smartphone anytime, and protects revenue streams while keeping customers safe. Think, for example, of the damage a faulty battery might cause, to the car, and by extension, to the car’s operator and occupants.

Here’s a shortlist of other automotive products that could cause safety problems:

  • Slow-deploying, or non-deploying airbags
  • Engine and drivetrain components such as spark plugs, oil filters and air filters which could contribute to engine failure or pose a fire risk
  • Faulty brake pads
  • Fake electrical components, including lights, leading to electrical failure and fire risk.
  • Tires that do not withstand speed and poor road surfaces
  • Fake windscreens can shatter or fail to provide any protective barrier to passengers


Tampering is also an issue, so there must be tools to recognize tampering instantly, even if the product’s container and labeling are legitimate, which might give a false sense of reliability.

And it’s not just brick-and-mortar transactions from your local auto parts store that’s an issue. E-commerce platforms have become vulnerable to misuse and infiltration of fake and potentially unsafe products.

With current counterfeit technology solutions, such as Authentic Vision, brands will know who exactly brought the products, and ensure that the warranty is extended to real products.

Finally, customer communication and loyalty are increased when global automotive aftermarket brands are protecting product integrity with real-time supply chain monitoring and gray-market analysis. Market messages follow authentication at highway speeds, and engagement has a clear road ahead.