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Genuine, matching, cheaper or just plain fake?

The global car industry seems focused on a few key areas. Sure, it's expanding to include new countries, but generally speaking when you think of the big car producing parts of the world, places like Turkey or even emerging giants like China don't immediately spring to mind.

So I found it interesting while sprinting from stand to stand at yesterday's Equip Auto show in Paris that behind the scenes the aftermarket is supported by producers sited all over the world. In many cases these were marked out by flags or signs, and in terms of the volume of companies showing their wares, I was staggered by just how strong the Chinese presence was.

China is by no means is this a country to overlook when it comes to producing cars, but while I knew they were a big parts producer I hadn't realised just how much of a force they are behind the scenes. A quick wander around their often understated but product-packed stands revealed a myriad of companies offering all manner of car parts. Everything from piston rings to chrome lashed alloy wheels.

Not that this seems to be worrying the big parts producers, several of whom were quick to point out the inferiority of some of the cheaper Eastern imports. But with a growing presence and plenty of customers voting with their wallets, they're certainly a threat.

Less of a threat, but very amusing, was the display of seized counterfeit parts on the Renault stand. Fancy a set of "Genuine Renrult Parts" branded brake pads on your car? Didn't think so.

Overall, though, it seems the parts market is beginning to change in favour of the aftermarket suppliers, due in no small part to the 200 Block Exemption. With 2010 just around the corner, the OEM quality manufacturers are feeling very positive that their current slice of the pie is set to increase. An indication that the future of this already diverse market is set to be even moreso.



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