DCUK says the wheels were sold under the implication that they were genuine parts. It says the victory is just the beginning of the fight-back. “These wheels are a small part of goods infringing our rights which are imported into the UK on a regular basis and we will use every legal means to put a stop to this,” says Wade Hubbard, DCUK director of aftersales. DaimlerChrysler's worldwide brand protection team has successfully prosecuted a number of organisations in the clampdown on counterfeit parts.
Euro Car Parts, which has 23 outlets in the UK, declined to comment on the case. It was recently fined £7500 for the illegal use of Microsoft software after an investigation by industry watchdog Business Software Alliance. DCUK's action underlines growing concern over the use of counterfeit and fake parts. Ford last week launched a parts brand protection group to hunt out misuse of its brand throughout Europe.
The problem also affects independent retailers, according to the Automotive Distribution Fede-ration. It is looking to balance the argument against carmakers and dealers who insist that motorists should always source original equipment (OE).
“There are parts sold as new original equipment by franchised dealers' parts departments that are actually reconditioned,” says ADF chairman Brian Spratt. “But they are a favoured part of the supply chain so no-one questions them.”