Porsche says counterfeit parts market is ‘booming’

Luxury carmaker Porsche has revealed that it confiscated more than 200,000 counterfeit goods with a value of almost €60m last year, even tracking producers back to rural China.

The haul including 33,000 car parts worth more than €2m, according to a post on the company’s website which describes the actions taken by its three brand protection officers to try to curb the trade.

There is a particular demand for wearing parts, which need to be replaced more often and can be sold for a much higher price if they bear the Porsche emblem on the packaging, it says.

That includes products like wheel centre caps, air filters and rims, as well as airbags and brake discs which are particularly concerning as they could end up compromising consumer safety.

A lot of the counterfeits are sold on online platforms such as Amazon, eBay or Alibaba, says Porsche, while there are also a lot of promotional items – baseball caps, T-shirts and sunglasses for example – at trade fairs.

“Sometimes the counterfeits are quite obvious,” explains Michaela Stoiber, one of the brand protection officers.

“The products are far cheaper than normal, or the Porsche emblem has been poorly copied. We sometimes also find that a different animal is shown in the centre of the logo. For example, instead of the Porsche horse, it could be a sheep standing on its hind legs.”

On one occasion Stoiber impounded thousands of erectile dysfunction pills shaped like the Porsche emblem from Turkey, which gives an indication of the lengths counterfeiters will go to in order to cash in on someone else’s trademarks.

Most of the counterfeits – an estimated 80 per cent – originate in China, with production facilities ranging from tiny workshops to large-scale factories. The city of Shenzhen is one of the hotspots for the trade, says Porsche.

The carmaker is also seeing evidence of the often-reported change in the shipping tactics of counterfeiters, with more and more shipments being sent in small parcels – rather than large containers – to frustrate enforcement efforts.

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