The fake wheel broke every time in the pothole test at 50km/h.

A new campaign, dubbed ‘Genuine is Best, has recently been launched in Australia to help raise the awareness amongst motorists on the potential risks faced by them should counterfeit wheels be employed on their vehicles. The campaign is backed by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) and is spearheaded by both Mercedes-Benz Australia Pacific and GM Holden.

To further highlight the importance of fitting genuine wheels to one’s vehicle, the campaign saw a demonstration take place at Holden’s Lang Lang proving ground in which several units of the Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG and CLA 45 AMG Shooting Brake were fitted with both genuine and counterfeit wheels. Said cars were then driven over a pothole at 50 km/h to demonstrate the build quality between both wheels.

Unsurprisingly (and frighteningly), a piece of the counterfeit wheel broke off upon impact while the genuine units remain unscathed. A second test which saw the wheel hit at different impact points (between the spokes as opposed to at the spoke) yielded the same result with visible damage done to the counterfeit wheel.

Genuine wheels (above, left) remain unscathed while counterfeit units shattered.

“Travelling at 50km/h is a real-world speed and you can easily see people encountering this situation. A piece of rim breaking away is not only dangerous for the people in the car but also for those on the side of the road considering how far the piece flew. Based on those sorts of results I wouldn’t want to put those rims on my car,” commented Mercedes-Benz Australia senior engineer, Timothy Clarke.

Making matters worse is also the fact that said counterfeit wheels were purchased online with no issues encountered along the way whatsoever – the wheels themselves were advertised as suitable for use on the Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG by the online vendor.

“This is not a handbag or hat. This is an item you’re placing you and your passenger’s lives on,” added Mercedes-Benz Australia Pacific senior manager of communications, David McCarthy. The campaign is set to shed more light on other counterfeit equipment that could see use on an individual’s vehicle. Wheels were used this time round because it represented one of the common parts of a car that an owner would replace.

GALLERY: Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Shooting Brake