According to Automotive News China, the shady side of the People's Republic is set to sell $45 billion worth of counterfeit auto parts this year. Those include high-volume pieces like spark plugs, brake pads and steering components as well as oil seals and airbags. All told, the report says that China is responsible for a hefty 83 percent of the world's counterfeit parts, leading the top three producers by a wide margin. The report goes on to state that Taiwan and Thailand are responsible for five percent of the pie each, while Japan and Malaysia weigh in with two percent each of the counterfeit market.
In many cases, authorities are ill-equipped to handle the sheer volume of rip-off artists. In one instance, a facility that produces knock-off oil seals gets shut down once a year only to re-open at full capacity. That plant had the capacity to produce seven million fake oil seals per year in 2008. Now that number is up to 10 million.
In the case of the seals, the manufacturer uses low-grade rubber and metal to cut costs, and as a result, the fake pieces carry a price tag that's less than half of the genuine article. They're also almost guaranteed to fail.
Meanwhile, legitimate Chinese companies are beginning to fit their boxes with radio frequency ID tags to distinguish their products from the fakes.
[Source: Automotive News China - Sub. Req.]