Authorised distributor launches genuine spare parts and service campaign across the Sultanate
Mitsubishi Oman has launched a nationwide campaign to convince the motoring public to stay away from counterfeit spare parts and only buy genuine parts to keep them and their family member safe on the roads of the Sultanate.
According to the Royal Oman Police, 45 per cent of the recent road fatalities in the country can be attributed to vehicles running on unsafe or counterfeit spares parts. In the light of these horrifying statistics Mitsubishi Oman is leading a campaign to try and help reduce the number of car accidents and accident related fatalities through proper consumer guidance and awareness about the effects of using substandard or fake parts in motor cars.
Mark Tomlinson, General Manager of Mitsubishi Oman explains why fighting the sale of fake parts is so important: “The catalyst for our promotion was the current exhibition being held by the Public Authority for Consumer Protection on fake automotive parts. We whole-heartedly support these public safety awareness campaigns and similar initiatives because first and most important, we are concerned about the safety of our customers, especially those who have older cars which have crossed the 6-year warranty period. Our second concern is the shadow fake parts cast on our reputation as a provider of high-quality replacement parts and safe and reliable vehicles to the public. Sadly, some customers are open to exploitation by unscrupulous traders or middlemen offering them fake or substandard spares at cheaper prices.
“We believe at present that unsuspecting consumers are continuing to be affected in one way or another by fake parts, which is why we are actively promoting a campaign for genuine parts in an effort to generate top of the mind awareness about safety issues for our customers.
“It is our objective to convince the customers that they could be risking their own lives and that of their families by saving just a few rials compared to the peace of mind they can have when purchasing genuine and authorised parts from our nationwide network of parts shops and workshops.”
The last Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) report highlighted the Middle East as a central market in the $16bn or more global trade in fake auto parts, which is growing at an estimated rate of 9-11 per cent a year.
Mitsubishi Oman understands the way that the Omani market works and how consumers generally looking for cheap bargains. The trend is very similar to many GCC retail market trends with the majority being discount driven markets where customers often look for cheaper options without realizing safety implications when it comes to buying service spare parts for cars.
The company’s after-sales service department has encountered many instances of fake parts such as oil and air filters, spark plugs, brake, clutch, ball bearings, suspension components in cars that have come in for service or repairs.
National Parts Manager Hemant Bhat added: “With the availability of sophisticated printing and packaging machines, it is really very difficult for customers to detect a counterfeit product. Imitation parts are manufactured, packaged and represented in a way to mislead the public. Imitators often duplicate a trademark exactly, or alter it just enough that the average customer won't notice the difference.”
For walk-in customers in showrooms or service centres, Mitsubishi Oman has now developed a direct communication platform in the form of a banner which highlights the key fundamentals of motor car and occupant safety.
“The message on the banner illustrates in a very clear and easy to understand the way that by using counterfeits parts you will in fact in the long term spend more money, need to buy more parts, cut your car's life much shorter and risk the safety of your vehicle. This is illustrated in a clear graphical format for ease of understanding,” added Mr. Bhat.
Mitsubishi’s authorized service centres only use genuine spare parts and technicians who are factory-trained guaranteeing quality and safety. Mr. Bhat says that customer should not take risks but should trust only an authorized Mitsubishi Parts outlet for all their requirements to buy genuine parts.
Public Authority for Consumer Protection [PACP] says that this illegal trade hits legitimate businesses and government revenues, authorities in Oman are working on ascertaining and fighting the impact of such illegal trade on the economy. “Some studies estimate that the global trade of counterfeit goods exceeds US$600bn annually. There are no specific studies on trade of counterfeit products in the Middle East,'' said Sara Holder, communication cluster head at Brand Protection Group (GCC & Yemen). The group works on creating awareness about counterfeit products. Counterfeit products seized in European Union show that the Middle East is a major transit point and a key player. Traders and business community leaders in Muscat say the illegal business is hurting them badly and that they have brought the matter to the notice of PACP and ROP.