Toyota Australia blocks fake grille sales by parts supplier

Toyota Australia has stopped a large body parts and panels supplier from peddling counterfeit grilles in contravention of Australian laws.

After litigation, SSS Auto Parts has been ordered to withdraw the counterfeit grilles from sale, offer a refund to purchasers, surrender remaining stock and make an undisclosed compensation payment to Toyota.

The counterfeit grilles illegally displayed the Toyota trade mark, while SSS Auto Parts also breached Toyota's copyright through unlicensed use of Toyota-owned images on its website, according to the carmaker’s brand protection manager Fabiola Dos Santos.

“Our grilles are designed, engineered and tested to allow sufficient air flow to the radiator, protecting the engine from overheating,” commented Dos Santos.

“They are manufactured to Toyota's stringent quality and durability standards - an assurance that cannot be offered by anyone selling counterfeit parts,” she added, while the fakes have “zero testing, no legal regulation and very little recourse for consumers if the part is ineffective or unsafe.”

Toyota has been battling criminals importing, selling and advertising counterfeit components claiming to be genuine Toyota spare parts in Australia and other world markets for years.

In 2015, for example, the Australian government ordered a recall of counterfeit Toyota brake pads that have been sold online to unsuspecting customers, while earlier that year the carmaker sued two independent retailers alleging the sale of fake airbags.

Dos Santos said Toyota is working with the Australian Border Force to identify and seize counterfeit parts given the growing number entering the Australian market.

“Toyota will act decisively whenever counterfeit parts are being sold to Australian consumers, and to prevent the use of forged Toyota packaging, markings and branding,” she said.

“Consumers should not assume they are buying a genuine part, even if it comes in a branded box or has a Toyota label.”

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