Hyundai: Counterfeit Car Parts Could Kill You

Not all spare parts were created equal.

Hyundai Motors America launched a campaign this week to remind customers that the difference between the carmaker’s parts and imposters could be the difference between life and death.

In a dramatic video (below), Hyundai shows two videos side-by-side with the first demonstrating a Hyundai supplied replacement airbag discharging and safely stopping a crash test dummy from smashing into the steering wheel during a simulated accident and a counterfeit airbag discharging, the deflated bag wrapping itself around the dummy’s head instead of inflating as the dummy smashes into the steering wheel.

The message is clear: Don’t be a dummy.

This is just the first video Hyundai plans to launch during the campaign designed to take on counterfeit, aftermarket, salvaged and recycled parts that are sometimes used to repair a vehicle.

“The goal of campaign is to educate consumers on their rights,” said Hyundai spokesman Miles Johnson. “In most cases customers have the right to choose the collision repair center where their vehicle will be repaired.”

Owners are encouraged to check with their insurance provider to make it clear they only want original manufacturer replacement parts, and if their policy does not provide that, they should ask for a rider on the policy. Specifically, the should look at their policy to see if uses the words “like kind and quality parts”, which means the replacement parts do not have to be made by Hyundai.

Currently, there are no companies authorized to make parts for Hyundai vehicles, except Hyundai.

Using counterfeit parts may save people money up front but it could cost them severely down the road. It could void a car’s warranty, as well as hurt a car’s residual value when an owner goes to sell it.

“Counterfeit Hyundai parts have been a growing problem over the last 30 years,” said Frank Ferrara, executive vice president, customer satisfaction, Hyundai Motor America, in a press release. “The more people who understand the dangers behind using non-Hyundai components and see the benefits of purchasing original parts, the less likely they are to suffer severe consequences and lose value on their car.”

Indeed, copied parts will cost less because the companies making them have done none of the engineering work the original carmaker did to build them. But that savings may include the lack of durability testing or other checks the carmakers have done to ensure a part works properly.

Hyundai is working with its dealers and authorized repair shops to ensure they use Hyundai replacement parts, even working Assured Performance Network, a not-for-profit company, that ensures shops use genuine replacement parts.

This problem is not just Hyundai’s. Just about every carmaker feeds an aftermarket industry that produces parts that may work on a vehicle.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission estimates that counterfeit parts cost carmakers $12 billion across the globe annually and $3 billion in the U.S., Hyundai stated in its release.

While this program was created exclusively by Hyundai, the Korean-based carmaker continues to work with other carmakers addressing the collision repair industry and the Automotive Anti-Counterfeiting Council.