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Toyota heads to court over fake airbag parts

Spiral out of control: Toyota has reportedly issued an alert about counterfeit and potentially faulty replacement spiral connectors that might fail to fire a driver’s airbags in a crash.

Counterfeit parts issue prompts Toyota Australia to lodge Federal Court proceedings

Toyota logo11 Aug 2015

By TIM NICHOLSON

TOYOTA Australia has initiated legal action against two independent retailers that the company alleges have sold counterfeit airbag parts that could pose a potential safety risk.

The Federal Court action follows a recent News Corporation report confirming a Toyota dealer bulletin advising of the discovery of counterfeit cables that send power to the firing mechanism in the driver’s front airbag and must be replaced with the airbag after deployment.

Toyota said in the dealer bulletin that the counterfeit parts were being sold by a pair of independent suppliers to independent repairers and potentially to Toyota dealers, all of whom may have mistakenly believed they were genuine parts.

Toyota Australia confirmed the Federal Court action in a statement released late on Monday afternoon.

“Following a six-month investigation, Toyota Australia has today lodged Federal Court proceedings against two independent retailers that have been selling counterfeit airbag spiral cables and advertising them as genuine Toyota parts,” the statement read.

“The legal action relates to ‘trademark infringement’ and ‘misleading and deceptive conduct’.

“We are concerned that customers have been misled into believing they have purchased a genuine Toyota part.”

Toyota Australia said internal testing revealed that the fake parts were of “inferior quality”, which poses a potential risk to customers, and added that all the company’s genuine parts undergo “rigorous testing” before sale to ensure they work, whereas counterfeit parts do not go through the same testing process.

“It is our expectation that the independent retailers will contact the impacted customers to advise them that they have purchased counterfeit parts and replace the airbag spiral cable with a genuine Toyota part at no cost to the customer,” the company said.

“We want to take this opportunity to reiterate to customers that the spiral cable would only have been replaced if their vehicle was involved in an accident and the airbag deployed. Customers are assured that the Toyota dealer network only uses genuine Toyota parts.”

The company added said that it would not be commenting further on the issue given it is now a matter for the Federal Court.

The airbag issue is not related to the massive global recall involving Japanese company Takata’s potentially faulty airbags that has scooped up about 53 million vehicles around the world and has been blamed for six deaths and hundreds of injuries.

The issue has come to light as the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) pushes its ‘Genuine is Best’ marketing campaign that aims to alert consumers to the potential dangers of purchasing non-genuine parts.

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