During Toyota Anti Counterfeit Press Conference
Toyota Motor Corporation, through Al Shaali & Co., Advocates & Legal Consultant and its UAE exclusive distributor Al-Futtaim Motors and Department of Economic Development of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah have recently joined efforts to combat the menace of counterfeit auto parts trade in the UAE.
At a press conference held at Intercontinental Dubai Festival City, the Department of Economic Development (DED) has announced the results of a triple sweep raid mission executed last week on a number of auto part retailers in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah over 10 days. The sweep raid actions in the 3 emirates had been a success.
The conference was opened by Hatem Abdel Ghani, Director & Head of IP Enforcement in Al Shaali & Co, Advocates & Legal Consultants and featured an anti-counterfeiting presentation by Sajjad Pasha, National Sales & Marketing Manager Parts and Distribution Al-Futtaim Motors.
It was reported that the most common origins of illegal parts seized within the UAE were from China, Taiwan, Turkey, Korea and Malaysia.
“The sweep raid actions are aimed at demonstrating Toyota Motor Corporation’s eagerness to work with the authorities in the UAE and its local distributors, Al Futtaim Motors to take actions against counterfeiters” said Hatem Abdel Ghani.
Sajjad Pasha also stressed on the negative impact the counterfeiting trade has on the brand image saying: “These illegal activities put both our brand and the consumers in danger. Auto part purchasers are being cheated and misled and end up with a hazardous part in their vehicles, which compromises their safety and the wellbeing of their families.”
Al-Futtaim Motors last year spearheaded the formation of a Dealer Council to safeguard the interest of the company’s 125-strong authorised dealer network. The Dealer Council has helped combat parallel imports of genuine Toyota parts in the UAE, and is working with government institutions to identify traders of counterfeit goods. It also serves as formal platform for all Al-Futtaim Motors dealers to share insights to further improving customer service, sales and marketing.
In 2008, Toyota Motor Corporation carried out similar sweep raid actions in a large scale fashion in the Sharjah market. The sweep raid actions assisted by Al Shaali & Co, resulted in seizure of counterfeit Toyota auto spare parts wherein many retail companies were raided against.
UAE has seen a tremendous growth in the auto spare parts trade since 2003. According to a study by the UAE's Ministry of Foreign Trade, the automotive market in the UAE has grown by 19.7 % in 2010. The counterfeiting activities concerning the auto spare parts industry enjoyed simultaneous growth with the automotive and auto spare parts industry and trade in the UAE.
Hatem Abdel Ghani said Toyota Motor Corporation expressed its satisfaction and appreciation to the authorities in the UAE for their readiness to cooperate with the brand owners and the support from the Economic Development Departments in the 3 emirates is shown through the smooth completion of the sweep raid actions that were recently carried out and the good results from the sweep raid actions. Toyota Motor Corporation had also expressed its intentions to continue to battle counterfeits in this region.
“The Dubai Department of Economic Development leads the way in the fight against counterfeiting. It is committed to taking all corrective measures according to the laws that deem it illegal for wholesalers who deal with counterfeit products. We are keen to provide greater support to owners of global brands by doing whatever it takes against companies that carry out such illegal acts” said Abdulla Mohammed Al Shehhi Commercial Protection Director Dubai Department of Economic Development.
“The vision of the Department of Economic Development in Abu Dhabi is focused on addressing counterfeit issues which reflect negatively on the UAE economy” said Mr. Ali Fahd spokesman of the Economic Department in Abu Dhabi. He stressed the department was following this campaign closely and has already taken all legal actions against illegal traders in collaboration with the brand owners. He assured that the department will continue its efforts to prevent and protect consumers of the dangers of counterfeit products.
"Due to the efforts done by the Government of Sharjah in the fight against counterfeiting we have observed that counterfeiting activities have considerably decreased. This is mainly due to the sweep raids and legal actions conducted by the Department of Economic Development on behalf of international companies” said Mr. Khalifa Misbah Al Kutbi from Economic Development Department of Sharjah. He added that the department will not hesitate to take any action against the merchants who deal with counterfeit goods and who violate the UAE laws in that regard.
The success of the market sweep raids carried out by Toyota Motor Corporation and concerted efforts by all parties involved have amply demonstrated the willingness and common aims of all parties to fight this menace. The efforts and investment by Toyota Motor Corporation in continuously fighting counterfeit in this country should set a good example to all brand owners around the world to follow suit. With the support and commitment of the authorities in the UAE, in particular the Department of Economic Development, it is important that brand owners in the automotive industry continue their efforts to protect their brands, as it will go a long way to ensuring lives of vehicle owners are not put at risk, while protecting the legitimate rights of the brand owners.