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Coping with the counterfeit parts menace during Covid

Venkateswarlu K | Updated on July 16, 2020 Published on July 16, 2020

One big advantage that genuine parts offer is longevity   -  REUTERS

They pose serious threat on the costs, safety front

As the world learns to live with Covid-19 and restrictions easing up, customers have gradually started commuting for essentials and, more importantly, their livelihoods.

Over the course of the lockdown, many vehicles have been stranded in parking spots. In the absence of conventional vehicle care and regular checks, there will be a surge in breakdowns. This will span across battery charging or replacement, brake lubrication, air-fuel system checks and repair, washing & disinfection, repair of electrical, and electronic parts as well as tyre replacements.

Dealerships will also have to address breakdown of engine fluids, corrosion of metal parts, deterioration of rubber parts, fading of colour panels, breaking in seat cover among others.

According to FICCI Cascade (Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy), 20 per cent of road accidents in India are caused by poor quality counterfeit parts. While automakers are putting their best foot forward to create a network of genuine parts, counterfeit trading continues to pose a challenge to growth and development of the component industry.

The issue of counterfeiting becomes especially critical for the two-wheeler industry. For one thing, India is the biggest two-wheeler market in the world with rural markets forming a significant part of demand. Manufacturers must ensure that they have a wide network pan India to provide the best after-sales service. After all, this boils down to protecting human lives.

Covid impact

Covid-19 has disrupted the transportation ecosystem and with social distancing being the need of the hour, consumer surveys indicate that people will now prefer personal vehicles to public transport. This is where there will be a growing demand for two-wheelers which, in turn, will boost demand for genuine spares.

Clearly, one big advantage that genuine parts offer is longevity. Even while they may be slightly pricer than counterfeit ones, the risk posed by the latter is damage in a short period of time which will also extend to supporting parts.

Consequently, this may require multiple replacements versus the one-time cost of the same genuine part. Additionally, a genuine part comes with warranty, replacement guarantee and longer life.

Safety is another important aspect to be factored in. Genuine parts are specifically designed, manufactured and rigorously tested. They form an integral component of the vehicle to meet high quality, safety and performance standards.

Brand protection programme

As a case in point, TVS Motor Company initiated a brand protection programme to protect customers against fraudulent practices. The objective was to ensure that vehicles did not develop a fault by being fitted with spurious spares.

With the third-party supplier often not accepting any accountability of damage caused by fake parts, it becomes a ‘pain point’ for the owner of the vehicle to not only deal with damage but replacement of fake parts with genuine ones.

The brand protection programme, carried out with support from police in various states, identified and seized counterfeits of TVS Motor spares worth ₹7.5 crore across major cities and towns. The initiative has seen a positive impact in Tier 2/3 markets which, in turn, has contributed to the cause of customer safety. The programme has also ensured distribution and availability of genuine parts through TVS Motor’s 3,500 plus touch points.

The writer is Senior VP, Parts Business, TVS Motor Company

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Published on July 16, 2020
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