Cos seek tough laws to weed out fake auto parts.
Soumitra Bhattacharya, chairman (consumer affairs and anti-counterfeiting committee), ACMA, said investigations into many road mishaps have revealed that fake clutches, brake linings, tie-end rods and even steering wheels of vehicles have broken down at crucial moments resulting in deaths and serious injuries.
Bhattacharya, who is senior vice-president (marketing) of leading German auto parts manufacturer Bosch, said the crime essentially falls in the same category as producing fake pharmaceuticals, which is a non-bailable offence since it can cause death or other serious body harm to consumers.
Bhattacharya lamented that culprits caught for producing fake auto parts get bail easily and merrily go back to doing their dubious business again at the cost of public safety.
According to an ACMA-sponsored study, as much as one-third of the Rs 16,500-crore auto component market in India comprises fake parts. With the high growth in auto sales, the demand for spares is also expected to go up accordingly.
The study revealed the malaise is most widespread in the National Capital Region (NCR) and adjoining regions of Haryana, UP, Rajasthan and Punjab. Bhattacharya said as many as 160 raids were carried out by ACMA in 2009 across 150 locations and while there are laws to book the culprits, the enforcement of these laws in the country is very weak. He disclosed spurious versions of most auto parts are becoming available and the raids have revealed that the production is not confined to small sheds alone.
"Some of these fake manufacturers operate from large factory premises as well," he added. Bhattacharya said that ACMA had expanded its committee to carry out more raids against those producing and selling fake auto parts. The target is to double the number of raids this year.
The spurious parts are available at a price that is 30 to 40 per cent cheaper than the genuine spares as no excise or sales tax is paid on these items. Taxes account for as much as 20 to 25 per cent of the price of genuine spares. Besides, the cost of manufacture of these spurious spares is lower as inferior materials bought at a lower price are used as inputs. The government is losing out on a huge amount of revenue in the process.
The margins offered to retail and wholesale sellers are also much higher, which tempts them to promote sales. Garage mechanics are roped in as well with a neat cut to push sales at the cost of the consumer.
Some consumers such as small- time transporters go in for these cheap parts to cut costs. But this endangers the safety of drivers as well as other road users.
According to Bhattacharya, the life of these fake parts is very short and eventually they do not lead to any real savings at all.
Apart from the ACMA initiative, leading auto component manufacturers such as Bosch, Delphi, Lucas, NRB Bearings, Gabriel and Elofic have been conducting raids on their own as well to control the spurious spares menace.
Leading manufacturers are also bringing in improved packaging to make it more difficult for unscrupulous elements to pass off their products as genuine.
The new packaging is of the break- off or rip- off kind, which cannot be used again.
Consumers are also being educated about the menace through " asli naqli " demonstration of products.
' IT'S SAME AS PRODUCING FAKE DRUGS'
Investigations into many road mishaps have revealed that fake clutches, brake linings, tie- end rods and even steering wheels of vehicles have broken down at crucial moments resulting in deaths and serious injuries.
An ACMA study says as much as one- third of the Rs 16,500- crore auto component mkt comprises fake parts. And the malaise is most widespread in NCR and adjoining areas of Haryana, UP, Rajasthan and Punjab.
Culprits get bail easily and some of these fake parts manufacturers operate from large factory premises as well.
The spurious parts are available at 30- 40% cheaper prices than the genuine spares as no excise or sales tax is paid to the government. The margins offered to sellers are also much higher. Garage mechanics are roped in as well with a neat cut to push sales at the cost of the consumer.
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|Publication:||Mail Today (New Delhi, India)|
|Date:||Jan 11, 2010|
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