Verifying the Authenticity of Motor Trade Porsche Parts for Automotive Professionals

Millions of mechanics, restorers and enthusiasts purchase spare parts and upgraded components for Porsche every year, ranging from vital components within braking and steering systems to entertainment and interior styling.

While counterfeit car parts have long been a serious issue, the prevalence of fake parts has grown substantially in recent years. A study cited by the UK government in its 2018 Think Before You Buy guidance estimates that the issue costs around €2 billion every year throughout the EU.

Design911, a long-established specialist supplier of an extensive catalogue of OEM Porsche parts, has compiled this guide to clarify how to differentiate between even the most convincing counterfeit parts and why authenticity and tracing the country of origin are fundamental to driver safety.

The Problem With Fake Porsche Parts and Components

Every part produced by a genuine manufacturer, whether an aftermarket part, an OEM component, or an upgrade part, is made according to strict specifications and tolerances, adhering to industry standards, material strengths, and dimensions that mean these parts will work as expected.

There is no room for error in automotive manufacturing, especially for high-end vehicles capable of extended speeds. Even the tiniest variation in material quality or composition can cause a severe risk, with common outcomes including:

  •   Engine failure or fire due to counterfeit valves, drive belts and spark plugs.
  •   Cracked windscreens putting drivers and passengers at risk of injury.
  •   Braking system failure where brake pads wear rapidly and unevenly.

The major issue with counterfeit Porsche parts isn’t just that they are a safety risk or will require replacing far sooner than an authentic part – but that they are often designed to intentionally deceive even seasoned automotive professionals into believing the part is real.

In the post-Brexit market, it is even more essential than ever that importers, retailers, and manufacturers verify the credentials of any parts – or components that are used in parts production. Previously, parts sourced through a known supply chain may have been assumed to be genuine, but in the current climate, there are more and more fake parts making their way to the UK in attempts to circumvent paying the appropriate duty.

It is also crucial that all professionals working within the automotive industry be conscious of the potential for fake parts when managing servicing, repairs or upgrades to electric or hybrid Porsche vehicles or conversions for older cars. There are reports of counterfeit batteries and wiring components used in low-emission vehicles and conversion kits that may be trickier to identify than more widely used Porsche parts.

How to Differentiate Between Counterfeit and Genuine Porsche Parts

Many counterfeit manufacturers go to great lengths to replicate the finish, branding and even quality marks you might expect to see on a real Porsche component. As experts in Porsche parts, we follow rigorous quality control procedures and only supply parts from reputable suppliers – but if you’re buying elsewhere, particularly from an online marketplace, you should be extra vigilant.

Here are a few of the signs that a part is authentic and some tips to ensure you steer clear of fake components:

  • Check the serial number stamped or printed onto the component. A counterfeit part may look like the real deal and feature a serial number – these codes are used to trace parts back to the manufacturer. We can advise if a serial number is correct or not, or you can compare the part number to the component you are replacing.
  • Look for a manufacturer hologram. A growing proportion of Porsche parts producers use unique hologram stickers that include embedded images, micro text, and features that are impossible to duplicate. You may be able to scan a QR code to access an embedded link within the part label to verify its authenticity or confirm the details of the producer.
  • Scan the RFID tags featured on high-value parts. RFID technology isn’t used for lower-cost components but is often an anti-fraud solution used within costlier parts. These tags can be scanned with a handheld reader or an RFID scanner, which acts as a more advanced version of a barcode.

If any of these elements seem suspicious, such as having blurred colours, low-quality printing, missing holograms or a serial number that doesn’t match the official coding, you may have a counterfeit part. Fake parts may also be sold at a surprisingly low price or feel lighter than other components, so even if the packaging and labelling appear correct, a visual inspection can be useful.

Of course, the only sure-fire way to ensure every Porsche part you purchase is authentic is to use a trusted, credible supplier, but understanding what to look for and knowing the signs that a part might be counterfeit can save a considerable amount of problems.

Dealing With Fake Porsche Components

We encourage every Porsche automotive professional to report any fake parts they come across to the authorities. By filing a report, you may assist regulators and inspectors in tracking down counterfeit supply chains, removing these dangerous parts from the market, and preventing unsuspecting drivers from heading onto the road in a car that is at serious risk of malfunctioning.

Manufacturers themselves also work diligently to monitor the market for reports of counterfeit parts that imitate their products and welcome information that can stop criminals from leveraging brand names such as Brembo and Textar.

The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, known as the FIA, provides online access to a database of technical information and car homologations you can use at any time to check for approved manufacturers.

If you believe a part is fraudulent, you can submit a report to your local police force, via Citizens Advice or to the nationwide Crime Stoppers helpline. It is also advisable to report the seller to Trading Standards, who can investigate.

Should you need any assistance verifying whether a component is genuine or require independent guidance to help with sourcing a specific part for any Porsche vehicle, please contact our knowledgeable customer support team, who will be happy to assist.

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