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Toyota forces fake parts recall

Fake brakes: Toyota Australia has discovered a parts supplier that is selling fake brake pads that contains asbestos.

Online parts distributor forced to recall fake Toyota brake pads with asbestos

23 Nov 2015

TOYOTA Australia has tracked down an online supplier of fake HiLux and HiAce brake pads following an investigation into counterfeit parts, forcing the company, Westend Spares, to issue a safety recall.

The brake pads were being marketed as genuine Toyota parts and contained asbestos, which has been banned from use in brake pads since 2003.

The pads were designed to be used on Toyota's two best-selling light commercials, thereby addressing a significant aftermarket.

Toyota Australia corporate manager Wayne Gabriel said he was shocked to learn that an Australian supplier was selling brake pads that contained asbestos.

“Not only have Toyota customers unwittingly bought counterfeit brake pads, but their safety has been put at serious risk,” he said.

The pads were sold between June 2013 and October 2015. It is not known how many units were sold.

Westend Spare Parts has agreed to contact all the purchasers of the fake brake pads in order to provide a full refund.

Westend will also ask its customers to get rid of the remaining brake pads or send them back to Westend to be destroyed.

The Japanese car-maker bought the brake pads because Toyota engineers had suspected that the pads contained asbestos. This was confirmed during tests conducted by an independent third party.

GoAuto has been told Toyota then went to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and also reported the issue to the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Authority.

Australian Border Force, which oversees Customs, was also informed.

“We are pleased with the supplier’s swift action and we will continue our ongoing work to stamp out counterfeit parts that put customers’ safety at risk,” Mr Gabriel said.

Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association executive director Stuart Charity said the association welcomed the ACCC's action to enforce the law and demand a recall of the illegal product sold.

"The most effective way for consumers to ensure they source high-quality automotive parts with full consumer guarantees is to buy them from a reputable automotive parts retailer or reseller," he said.

Toyota is still talking with Westend about some of the other parts it has been selling.

Mr Gabriel said he believed Westend was also selling other counterfeit parts, including spiral cables, water pumps and wheel bearings.

He said Toyota hoped to resolve the matter in the near future.

In a simultaneous press release, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), which is running a campaign encouraging the use of branded spare parts, congratulated Toyota on its success in having the fake brake pads recalled.

“Toyota’s actions confirm the only way motorists can be sure their vehicle drives, functions and protects them in exactly the way its maker intended is to use genuine parts,” said FCAI chief executive Tony Weber.

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