Efforts to increase consumer awareness of the importance of genuine parts have been boosted with the recruitment of motor racing legend Mark Skaife to the cause.
The five-time Australian Touring Car champion and six-time Bathurst 1000 winner knows importance of using quality, genuine parts. As ambassador for the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) initiative Genuine Is Best, he will dispel misconceptions about the use of non-genuine parts.
“My motorsport career was built on safety and reliability. I always had a team behind me which made sure the car performed and protected me so that I could bring it home,” he said.
Developed by the FCAI, geuineisbest.com.au is a free online resource designed to educate motorists about the importance of genuine parts.
But it’s not just about quality, it’s about safety. A genuine part is made or selected by the vehicle maker and is tested as an integral component of the vehicle to ensure quality and safety. Non-genuine parts can’t necessarily promise this quality and safety.
As FCAI Chief Executive Tony Weber says, “counterfeit parts risk lives because they are generally poorly produced and made using substandard materials”.
The number of Australian drivers affected by non-genuine and counterfeit parts is unclear. These parts can be made by anyone, anywhere, making record-keeping difficult. The packaging and numbers may look the same to deceive repairers who are price-sensitive.
One way to ensure consumer protection is to have services and repairs done by those who use manufacturer-accredited parts. Manufacturers are the only ones who put these parts through extensive testing as an integral component in the vehicle to ensure they are safe and reliable .
Non-accredited providers might claim their parts are suitable (for example, bonnets) but they may not be integrated with the safety aspects of the design of the vehicle nor have they been tested or approved by the manufacturer of the vehicle.
Mr Skaife will help in spreading the message to everyday drivers.
“People need to know that this is a serious safety issue. Only genuine original equipment parts have been designed, engineered and selected by the manufacturer of your motor bike or car. And only genuine parts have been tested by the manufacturer of your vehicle as an integral component for safety and quality,” he said.
“You can be sure that it’s a genuine part if it’s new and comes through the vehicle maker’s authorised supply chain.”
FCAI chief executive and Genuine Is Best spokesman Tony Weber said Mr Skaife’s success behind the wheel and his work in vehicle and track safety development makes him ideal for the role of ambassador.
“Mark knows first-hand how critical it is for the parts of your car to work together properly and the risks associated with parts that aren’t designed, engineered and built specifically for your car. That’s why he sees genuine parts as being essential for your own vehicle’s safety and reliability,” Mr Weber said.
“We’re very happy to have Mark join Genuine Is Best.”
Hopefully Mr Skaife’s reputation will inspire consumers to take action on the issue, particularly those in the younger generation.
Genuine is Best is a safety program aimed at educating those who are new to driving about the importance of genuine parts. Experienced drivers might already be aware of the risks, usually through personal or life experience. But the website’s focus is to make sure that those who are purchasing their first car or have only been driving for a short time do not, for the sake of a few dollars, take an option they may later regret.
Readers should be aware that independent repairers and insurance companies are required to disclose to a customer if they are using non-genuine parts. This requirement is under the Access to Service and Repair Information Agreement signed by industry associations and witnessed by the Minister for Small Business, the Hon Bruce Billson MP, last year.