TecAlliance has announced that it will back the government’s ‘Think Before You Buy’ initiative – the international awareness campaign tackling counterfeit products in the automotive industry.
Counterfeit products are often wrongly considered victimless crimes and in the automobile sector, many consumers are not aware of the risks associated with ‘fake’ vehicle parts when it comes to traffic safety, for example.
“Although motorists want to save money and look for replacement parts themselves on the web and then ask their trusted workshops to install them, they are at risk of becoming the victims of fakes,” said Jürgen Buchert, Managing Director of TecAlliance GmbH. TecDoc Catalogue, the operator of the global vehicle and spare parts database, is supporting the British initiative against international product piracy to make sure the public are more aware of the dangers of counterfeit vehicle spare parts.
Under the title ‘Think Before You Buy’, the British government has started an international awareness campaign together with car manufacturers, aftermarket players, industry associations and major online platforms. In addition to consumer risks, the economic damage caused by counterfeit products is substantial. The Intellectual Property Office of the European Union estimates that the EU market for tyres and batteries alone suffers an annual loss of more than two billion euros.
“We are proud to be part of this initiative, because fake parts are not just a problem for vehicle and parts manufacturers. The protection of the consumer and of intellectual property affects us all,” warned Dr. Daniel Dünnebacke, COO of oneIDentity+.
TecAlliance has been actively fighting product piracy for some time, and 10 years ago, it introduced the Manufacturers Against Product Piracy (MAPP) Initiative. Through MAPP, automotive suppliers of leading brands have now been working together closely for years.
To distinguish genuine from fake parts faster in the future, many participants of the MAPP initiative mark their original products with a data matrix barcode based on the coding recommendation worked out by the European parts manufacturer association CLEPA. With oneIDentity+, TecAlliance has developed an IT solution for the car spare parts market so that the unique MAPP code can be easily checked. Within seconds, the user knows whether a replacement part is original and can access detailed information about the product.
oneIDentity+ is also responsible for the global management of the MAPP code. The globally unique two-dimensional MAPP code, which is based on GS1 standards, has become an industry standard in the automotive aftermarket and clearly identifies each part from the factory. It is now also used in other industries. The MAPP code is stored on the oneIDentity+ cloud platform.
The oneIDentity+ database already includes over 1.8 billion product codes. From 90 countries around the world, the authenticity verification specialist receives more than 30,000 enquiries every month about products, machines and systems from a wide range of user groups including workshops, customs, service and logistics employees.
“Trace the origin of components, spare parts and tools”
Besides TecAlliance, other members of the British government initiative include the vehicle manufacturers Audi and BMW, as well as the parts manufacturers NGK Spark Plugs, TMD Friction and Philips Automotive. There are also industry associations including the Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF), the Independent Garage Association (IGA) and of course, MAPP.
Other participants include the online commercial giants Amazon and eBay, as well as Trading Standards, the Police IP Crime Unit, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), M-Sport, Motor Sports Association UK (MSA) and the International Automobile Association (iaa®).
“Product piracy is a challenge faced by a range of manufacturers and industries, which will only be exacerbated during the digital transformation. As part of Industry 4.0, it will become more important than ever to be able to trace the origin of components, spare parts and tools,” concluded Dr. Daniel Dünnebacke with conviction.