The fake wheel broke at just 50km/h in the pothole test

Earlier in the week, a new campaign titled ‘Genuine is Best’ was launched in Australia to spread awareness among vehicle owners on the dangers of installing counterfeit wheels. The campaign was promoted by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), with support from Mercedes-Benz Australia Pacific and GM Holden.

As a recap, the campaign involved a demonstration at Holden’s Lang Lang proving ground, with units of the Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG and CLA 45 AMG Shooting Brake 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, with the counterfeit wheels cracking severely.

However, the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA) doesn’t see the campaign as fulfilling its suggested objective. Instead, the association describes that the “fake wheel test” as a self-serving “stunt” designed to mislead and scare the public.

In a statement posted on AAAA’s website, executive director Stuart Charity said, “these wheels should not have been imported into the country – they do not meet Australian Standards and would never have been sold by any reputable Australian wheel retailer.”

He added that illegal wheels used in the demonstration would never have passed through Australia’s border protection system, and those caught selling them should be prosecuted under consumer protection laws.

“The FCAI stunt was simply a scare campaign funded by the car industry as an advertisement for high profit margin car makers’ branded products. Unfortunately, it was also an expose´ on how to buy imported illegal products that do not meet Australian Standards.

“A more appropriate message would have been to educate consumers to ‘buy product that meets Australian Standards and is ‘fit for purpose’. Another important consumer message is ‘don’t buy safety critical car parts online from unknown vendors,” Charity added.

He also claims that products purchased from reputable automotive parts retailers that meet Australia’s Standards are able to match, and even exceed the quality levels of branded products from car manufacturers.

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

Charity also attacked the car industry by saying that the predictable outcomes of the test was to undermine the quality of aftermarket products to encourage consumers to pay for so-called ‘genuine’ parts that come at a premium price.

He goes on to point out the credibility of the test, “It is hard to believe that anyone owning a late model Mercedes Benz would suddenly have a desire to remove the original wheels, buy a set of cheap wheels from an online store and then fit them to their premium car.”

“Aftermarket and counterfeit products are not the same thing. The car companies should stop misleading the public with these stunts because this is not the way to build trust and respect with their customers. Aftermarket products sourced through reputable suppliers are subject to Australian Consumer Laws and have the same warranty protections as the expensive car company branded products,” said Stuart Charity.

What do you think of the AAAA’s claims? Do aftermarket automotive parts match up, or even exceed the branded parts sold by car manufacturers? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.