A non-profit group of 11 major US automotive manufacturers is cracking down on sales of counterfeit airbags and other automotive parts.

The Automotive Anti-Counterfeiting Council (A2C2) first formed in 2014 and has now grown to include 11 automakers that, collectively, produce around 90 per cent of the vehicles on the road in the US.

The group works with the US Department of Homeland Security to protect their brands and the health and safety of consumers.

“When you contact A2C2 with a counterfeiting concern, you are contacting the entire North American auto industry and you bring the resources of that industry to bear against counterfeiting,” said A2C2 President, Andy Forsythe, of Nissan.

In just a few years A2C2 has notched some big wins. In addition to helping bring individual counterfeiters to justice, the group has convinced e-commerce giants Amazon and Alibaba to prohibit airbag sales on their websites.

With the help of the group’s federal liaison, Jon Ruttencutter – a Special Agent with Homeland Security Investigations – the council met face-to-face with Daniel Marti, the former US intellectual property enforcement coordinator. After a three-hour meeting with Marti in 2016, the council convinced him to include parts counterfeiting in the US Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement for FY 2017-2019.

A2C2 also has conducted a number of training sessions with US Customs and Border Protection officers to help them identify shipments of counterfeit auto parts. A2C2 member, Joe Cammiso, of Toyota said the brand-agnostic training sessions were designed to teach them what shipments of genuine OEM parts should look like. The council’s trainers urge customs and border inspectors to call any A2C2 member if they spot a suspicious shipment, regardless of the brand.

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