15

Don't Buy Fake Shit - A Close Look at a Fake

 Cusco USA Press Release

 

In this day and age, counterfeit products plague the aftermarket automotive industry to the extent of even bringing down large corporations. There are many copycats out there who ripoff original product designs and market them for pure profit, which in simplicity is no different from theft at a whole new level. Moreover, the worst is when the product is copied exactly right down to the brand logo, packaging, instruction forms, and sold to the unknowing consumer as the real deal.

The counterfeit producers utilize such commerce sites as eBay and even have websites of their own, selling the items well below the manufacturer's suggested retail pricing. Here we have an example of a well constructed knock-off CUSCO oil catch can.

 

 

Counterfeit CUSCO Oil Catch Can exactly the way it's shipped to your door. Everything seen here is replicated, even the sticker.

 

Since CUSCO products are designed and manufactured in Japan, it is fairly easy to tell the difference between an item that had been constructed in a different country. The fake oil catch can kit comes with the contents shown above, the biggest visible difference is the cardboard that can be seen through the clear film, whereas on the real unit, the oil catch can is shown for product display.

Let's take a better look at the packaging, specifically the discrepancies of the Japanese text that is printed on the box.

 

Various Japanese character errors that can be easily distinguished by a Japanese speaker. There are speculations of the origin of the individual responsible for these copies, indicated in the font encoding/input used in their language. The Japanese keyboard input system is incapable of producing these characters.

 

Speaking more specifically, the font system utilized when making the counterfeit good gives away the fact that the packaging has also been copied. A simple scan and print would have compromised the quality of the print, so an attempt to recreate the entire layout was performed. Simple grammatical and spelling errors, as well as the usage of the wrong Japanese kanji characters, are not noticed by non-Japanese speakers and are close enough for the copycats to get away with.

The canister also shows a great deal of differences.

 

REAL:  Notice the "Made in Japan" scribe as well as the polished finish.  FAKE: Counterfit CUSCO Catch Can.  Notice the overdone chrome finish?

 

The comparison of the above two photographs clearly shows the fake unit has the CUSCO logo flipped upside down. The real product is finished by buff polishing and the fake unit is chrome. Although it's not easy to tell, the real unit has more of a hand-crafted quality, since each one being made individually as opposed to being manufactured in large volumes.

 

 

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Comments
Street Surgeon
Street Surgeonlink
Sunday, January 15, 2012 1:30 PM
Cut both of them in half, I want to see what's inside!
Steve
Stevelink
Sunday, January 15, 2012 1:35 PM
Excellent article, good points on the fit and finish. Unfortunately the character part isn't a great tip-off for me :D
2_Liter_Turbo
2_Liter_Turbolink
Sunday, January 15, 2012 1:55 PM
I will definitely spread the word! This crap has got to stop, and the best way is to inform the consumers, IMO. Down with the cheap knock-off parts!!!
JDMized
JDMizedlink
Sunday, January 15, 2012 2:52 PM
Growing up in Japan, I feel compelled to give my .02 here.
The Japanese take pride in what they are doing. Each company I've ever dealt with (tuning-aftermarket company) has always had a great customer support and always willing to answer any of my questions concerning their products.

When I see this Chinese crap, I get very upset. I have no respect for those Chinese d!cks that go out and replicated the Japanese products (with lower-quality material, lower-quality design...).
Call me racist, but the Chinese are the ones that know Kanji the best (Japanese kanji are essentially Chinese-derived Kanji in a much simplified form). While the Chinese have 10000+ Kanji, the Japanese have "only" roughly 2000.
Reading those non-sense Japanese labels pisses me off to no-belief.
They have no respect for other people's hard work, steal their idea and sell it as theirs.

A young teenagers that just started modding his/her car, has probably no idea why two "exact" products differ so much in price (the genuine Japanese being more expensive, while the knock-off Chinese being cheap). A question should arise, however many times the price dictates which one to purchase.

It doesn't help either that magazines like Import Tuner, Super Street, Modified and the like advertise blatantly those Chinese knock-off companies THEN preach to their readers that helping counterfeit companies doesn't help the industries, and only hurts it.
Companies like Megan Racing, Godspeed, BLOX, BWR, Seibon and the like gain momentum among enthusiasts, while the true player (HKS or Voltex for instance) have to re-evaluate their position and stop producing certain parts.
Now, I know magazines survive thru advertisements. I'd say, boycott the request of those Chinese-fvcks and allow only genuine companies that put true R&D in their products to be advertise.

Furthermore, as we all know, the Japanese are not the only one affected. Companies like Walbro, or Aeromotive have been targeted as well, and I'm sure many others have been as well. Support genuine parts so that those companies can come up with more R&D for the tuning industry.
End of the rant.
Steve
Stevelink
Sunday, January 15, 2012 3:12 PM
Good rant. I seriously had this Chinese guy trying to sell me on the idea that China saves the average American family something like $1000/year on consumer goods, basically because they "exist" as cheaper alternatives from China. I won't repeat my answer here because it wasn't particularly nice xD
bigdave
bigdavelink
Sunday, January 15, 2012 3:28 PM
Well now the knockoff companies know what to change to make them more authentic looking lol.
Steve
Stevelink
Sunday, January 15, 2012 3:30 PM
they're incapable of matching fit and finish which is usually a dead giveaway. Look at that crappy chrome, for starters...
Kevin
Kevinlink
Sunday, January 15, 2012 3:41 PM
Have to throw in my .2 cents here also. Let me first say I don't support the knock off crap that has been going on. I also don't support what some of these tuning parts companys are doing. What they are doing is having parts manufactured in china/taiwan/korea, then these parts are shipped right from the manufacture in taiwan to the united states clearly stating that they were made in JAPAN. well now ain't that some shit how your made in japan designs end up in other countrys being knocked off???? Yet these parts are considered to be the real deal made in japan part simply cause the company maintains a Tokyo address.
Valters B
Valters Blink
Sunday, January 15, 2012 4:21 PM
Ok, i THINK i have a fake one, i bought from ebay long ago. It has the white braided hoses, has the Cosco written in correct direction, but there is no "made in japan" and the shit is leaking oil :D
M-P
M-Plink
Sunday, January 15, 2012 5:01 PM
Damn, mine's fake too. Granted I bought it super cheap off of a rx7club forum member years again, but still disappointing.
Andy
Andylink
Sunday, January 15, 2012 9:58 PM
In other industries as well: http://www.bcsinnovations.com.au/1230/infolithium-batteries-genuine-v-after-market/
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Monday, January 16, 2012 12:14 AM
Seibon is actually the OEM manufacturer for many high end Japanese and German aero kit companies. For instance all the carbon doors you see sold in japan under various brands are made by Seibon. They also make a lot more than that though for more than just a few companies.
Eric Hsu
Eric Hsulink
Monday, January 16, 2012 2:06 AM
Kevin: The Japanese companies still have extensive quality control despite some of the stuff being made in asia. In some cases, they Japanese companies have gone over there themselves and opened factories to take advantage of the dirt cheap labor and the lack of environmental laws. But these factories are still staffed with Japanese management. What makes it LOOK like they are trying to rape the consumer price-wise is the yen to dollar exchange rate.

Then there are the JDM companies that just source crap in China, rebadge it, and try to pass it off as JDM. I think those are the companies you're complaining about.

Mike I think we all know how Seibon got started, but the European "high end" tuning companies are also just as guilty as the Japanese manufacturers when trying to pass parts off as being made in their own country. Ever compare the weight of a Seibon hood to a stock one? But I guess as far as making parts for the HIN show/street car crowd, the stuff is fine I suppose.
Eric Hsu
Eric Hsulink
Monday, January 16, 2012 2:09 AM
Valters and M-P: I think Cusco just started to etch the MADE IN JAPAN recently. While highly illegal, it won't stop the Chinese from etching the same either. You're talking about a country where the goverment was in on creating a city named "USA" just so they could badge their products MADE IN USA.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Monday, January 16, 2012 2:36 AM
I was really surprised just who they OEM for, including one super expensive German company that my friend paid something like 4 grand for a hood for his M5. They make most of the pre-preg vacuum formed and vacuum infused stuff on the Japanese market.

Their high end stuff is all epoxy pre-preg or epoxy vacuum stuff and is pretty light. The also make OEM parts for a couple of OEM car manufactures!
Eric Hsu
Eric Hsulink
Monday, January 16, 2012 2:40 AM
They do some special shoe with Nike too I heard. Bam! From wet lay up HIN ricers to pre-preg ballers in 8 years! As they say, timing is everything in this world...
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Monday, January 16, 2012 3:08 AM
When I was a kid, Japanese stuff was called knockoffs and janky. Everyone knows how that progressed. It also tells you how old I am. Did I tell you I got my AARP card in the mail last week? No shit I am a senior citizen.
Wes Dumalski
Wes Dumalskilink
Monday, January 16, 2012 10:18 AM
Certified Fradulent....

"Guaranteed Piece of Shit"

Pick your title... Tommy Boy would be proud!
TnF
TnFlink
Monday, January 16, 2012 11:32 AM
Mr Kojima there have been also APEXI fake air filters (new type of fake ones) which are from Malaysia and they look almost exactly the same. I have pictures over SXOC forums. Btw, first CUSCO catch cans and strut bars have NO incised logo on them! Also these cusco products are aluminum polished and not chromium coated. As the you can see from the pictures here, chromium is goldish silver, aluminium is grayish silver. What i was dissapointed to find out is that the cusco can don't have a metal screen inside:( can anyone confirm it for the new cans as well? Lastly, when are you going to make a story about installing catch cans in turbocharged engines without using two cans? S13 maybe?;p
JDMized
JDMizedlink
Monday, January 16, 2012 12:50 PM
@ Mike (Kojima): SEIBON is a sleazy-SH!T company !!!

Fact #1: In the early days they started copying Voltex hoods for the EVO VIII-IX. You know what happened? Voltex couldn't compete with SEIBON's price and they ended up discontinuing their carbon fiber hood for the EVO! How's that for honesty?
Have you ever seen how many bodykit Voltex puts thru its pace in the wind tunnel at the Mie University? A LOT! Voltex is a very legit company that has been around for a while now. (maybe Andrew Brilliant can vouch on that).

Fact #2: When the EVO X was just released on the market in Japan few years ago, and the Super Taikyu Endless Team decided to switch their EVO IX to the new EVO X. They contacted SEIBON to get a set of carbon fiber doors. A lot of people raised their eyebrows and the honcho of Endless got REALLY upset at the people that took this decision. I remember having a conversation with Dominique Chen (rep of the Endless US), and he stated that several people in Japan (that work for Endless) were far from happy about this decision. Why did they outsource SEIBON for the carbon doors? Because at the time nobody was making carbon fiber doors for the EVO X. Everyone at Endless was pissed about how poor the quality and fitment of the doors were. Granted the Endless Team switched to Moon-Craft doors later on in the season.

Fact #3: SEIBON apparently means "racing" in Mandarin. How legit is that? LOL. When was the last time you saw them testing at BW? What kind of "racing" are they taking about here?

Fact #4: I'm not sure you are aware of this, but several years ago SEIBON contacted Mackin Industries (Eddie Lee) as well as RAYS Wheels (in Japan). They asked the company if they could run a limited edition TE37 wheel (the decal and the finish was the only differences between the SEIBON TE37 edition and the regular Volk TE37). They did that because it was a good way to gain legitimacy among tuner enthusiasts.
Now, since Mackin is the main distributor of RAYS here in the US, why wouldn't you find them selling SEIBON TE37's? Food for thoughts....

Last, and certainly not least. Since this article was written to educate people about legit parts vs. knock-off China sh!t; let's drop some name here, shall we?
Who are those Japanese/German companies that work closely with SEIBON you are talking about here? Lexus? BMW? AUDI? Let's drop some name here instead of keeping it a secret.

Feel free to to do your research about what I just stated about. Call people in the industry and ask them.
It upsets me that people give credit to SEIBON like that. And for the sake of this industry, educate the people by dropping names and tell who's parter with who. And if you don't want to do that to protect your position, then don't even mention it.
Steve
Stevelink
Monday, January 16, 2012 2:02 PM
@JDMized - SEIBON recently made a custom run of hoods and trunks through Fontana Nissan (Scott) for the B13's, they did a great job. Idk what your bitch is with SEIBON but they are not the companies we're talking about here. They don't manufacture other peoples shit with the OEM name on it, a.k.a. FAKE SHIT. Copies under your own name, different issue so find the right place for your anti-SEIBON rants, it finds no purchase here. The story is about FAKE SHIT.
S2Kaz
S2Kazlink
Monday, January 16, 2012 3:19 PM
Please correct me if I am wrong, but any body parts company that makes and sells product ending in "style" - is just a knockoff that would be considered fake. Not only Seibon, but many others. They take a design made by someone else's hard work, and copy it using less quality than the original. It's one thing to copy someone and give them credit, but all you get is "MG Style" or CW Style" etc. etc. etc.

Then there are wheel companies too that simply copy designs and make wheels that really become a safety hazard. Yes, I also find it wrong that magazine companies support this kind of work.
JDMized
JDMizedlink
Monday, January 16, 2012 3:26 PM
@Steve: do NOT accuse me of taking shit about SEIBON if you do not have any evidence!
Call people (in the industry) and do some research online before pointing fingers at people!
Steve
Stevelink
Monday, January 16, 2012 3:38 PM
No accusation of talking shit. You have an axe to grind, fine, the article is about Counterfeit parts AKA FAKE. Keep it relevant :)
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Monday, January 16, 2012 9:38 PM
JDM, Your facts are more like your OPINIONS. I work in this industry and have for years, you don't. I am not at liberty to say who Seibon is the OEM manufacture for but if you knew, you would be surprised. They make stuff for many of the JDM companies you worship.

There are plenty of real compition cars that run Seibon parts, the Sierra Sierra Evo for instance has some major Seibon parts. Nearly all of the Formula D cars run Seibon parts including Dai's S13.

Like Eric said, they started off as a lame wet layup show carbon company but have evoloved into one of the leading manufactures of carbon parts for the automotive and other industries.
S2Kaz
S2Kazlink
Monday, January 16, 2012 10:23 PM
Hello Mr. Kojima, I know you are a very respected person in the automotive community, and I have much respect for you too.

But I wanted to ask you personally about aftermarket companies such as Seibon. I didn't want to single them out, this thread has mentioned them a lot.

First of all, I can kind of understand that a small company in the beginning may need to do some copying or corner cutting to make a profit and compete with bigger, established companies.

But then, after they have become established themselves, and are making these legitimate parts for Formula D, and Time Attack Teams, why are they still continuing to copy and sell parts as their own? This is still wrong, no matter what other prestigious work they may be doing (OEM work)

There are many examples, but I will pick out one. I am not an evo owner, but look at this...

Seibon CWII Style hood (they have a CW {cwest} already, this is #2 I guess for them.)
http://www.seiboncarbon.com/products/mitsubishi/evo/?page=2

And compare to this:
http://www.evasivemotorsports.com/merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=VL-ET-1&Category_Code=Mitsubishi_EVO8_Aerodynamics

Unless there is some business going on between Voltex and Seibon, I would say this is a fake copy. I have a strange feeling (not certain of course) that they just found a voltex hood, made a mold out of it, and started making them.

So...what do you think? shouldn't they stop this part of their work?
S2Kaz
S2Kazlink
Monday, January 16, 2012 10:30 PM
Sorry for the long post followed by another, but I just found this:
http://blog.bespokeventures.com/tag/copy/
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Tuesday, January 17, 2012 12:08 AM
Like I said you would be surprised to know who they make stuff for (hint)! Seibon is no longer branding similar stuff as their own and are now doing original designs and have not been making stuff styled like other companies for about the last 2 years. I use some Seibon stuff for racing and drift programs I am involved in without hesitation.

What Seibon is doing is just what will happen in the future. I predict that the best Taiwanese companies will soon make well regarded stuff followed by the best of the Chinese companies. The best will grow out of the knockoff phase soon if the market is big enough. Of course their prices will rise to close to the rest of the market and they will own a large part of the low and mid level market including manufacturing for most of the big names. Its kinda what they have done in the high end electronic, bike and scooter market.

The Japanese were in the same position when I was a kid, Japanese stuff was considered to be cheap knock offs. After a few years by following the teachings of Deming, the Japanese became world class manufactures.

I am personally against adulterated parts and knock offs represented as original brand name parts. There is nothing wrong with stuff made in Taiwan, Korea, Malaysia and China in itself if the quality is good.
S2Kaz
S2Kazlink
Tuesday, January 17, 2012 1:02 AM
Thanks for the reply, and I get your "hint" =). I guess business in the auto industry is so deep, that the average enthusiast is kinda left in the dark.
spdracerut
spdracerutlink
Tuesday, January 17, 2012 1:10 AM
Re: Seibon. They are not trying to pass off their stuff as originals of something else. Yes, they have hoods styled like CWest, Mugen, Spoon, etc. but they aren't selling them as originals. It's like buying a print of a painting vs. buying the actual painting. The buyer knows it's not the original, but just looks like the original. It's like Rota wheels that look like Volks. Does Rota try to pass of their wheels as origianl Volks? Nope. They just look similar to Volks. The point of this article is to weed out the fakers that are trying to pass off their crap as originals.

Re: manufacturing in China. Location of production is irrelevant to the quality of the part. It's all about the quality control. If I need to buy a 304 stainless steel rod of 50mm diameter, +/- 0.01mm, I don't care where it's made as long as it meets the material specification (exact composition of elements) and the dimensional specification.

I think in 10 years, we will see a shift in product development. After WWII, Japan use to copy everything. Then they started to learn and make things better and develop products on their own. It's only a matter of time that the same will happen in China as they gain more experience, especially working with more global corporations. Because corporations are global, the Chinese are now working with people from all over the world and learning from them.

I also predict that the cost advantage of manufacturing and engineering in China will greatly reduce. I think that trend is already starting to happen as the workers and professionals over there are able to command higher wages as evidenced by their growing middle class.
JDMized
JDMizedlink
Tuesday, January 17, 2012 2:44 AM
I am aware that the SSE uses SEIBON doors and body panels. They clearly know what they are doing, and it is their choice to run them.
Much like when Nissan Fontana ran Megan Racing camber kit on their 350Z TA car.

I do not worship JDM. I simply respect what the most Japanese tuners have been doing in this industry. I love how people stereotype and jump to a conclusion just because my screen name spells JDM. I worship craftsmanship (regardless of the origin).

High end JDM carbon fiber products are made by DOME and Moon Craft, not SEIBON. If you don't want to share your precious information on here. You are entitle to do so, but don't expect car enthusiast to make wise decisions based on half-facts. You say whatever there is to say, or don't bring it up at all.

As far as SEIBON goes. I am aware they sponsor a lot of FD cars. Let's be honest though. There isn't much $$$ involved in FD. If there were, people (teams I should say) wouldn't swap LS's into every car because deemed "cheap" and "reliable". Clearly budget is an issue. So teams involved in FD reach out to whoever is willing to give them free stuff. Pretty simple concept.

Anyway, the FACTS I brought up to your attentions are NOT opinions!

Call up Endless and ask yourself (Dominique Chen is the sales guy), here is their number: (714)842-8551.
Here is the number for Voltex: (011)8159-375-7792. Talk to the owner Akihiro Nakajima, (he speaks sufficient English to have a regular conversation).
And here is the number of Mackin Industries (562)946-6820. Ask Eddie Lee how come they don't sell SEIBON TE37's.
Again, what I stated above are not my opinions, those are facts.
Now, I'm not sure how SEIBON is conducting its business as of late, so I can't speak about that.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Tuesday, January 17, 2012 10:16 AM
I know all of those people but you don't know the entire story. I cannot say who the manufactures are because of agreements but it is not common knowledge.

If you are inferring that I am a liar, then don't call me a friend either.
Eric Hsu
Eric Hsulink
Tuesday, January 17, 2012 11:02 AM
spdracerut: When you say, "Re: Seibon. They are not trying to pass off their stuff as originals of something else. Yes, they have hoods styled like CWest, Mugen, Spoon, etc. but they aren't selling them as originals. It's like buying a print of a painting vs. buying the actual painting. The buyer knows it's not the original, but just looks like the original. It's like Rota wheels that look like Volks. Does Rota try to pass of their wheels as origianl Volks? Nope. They just look similar to Volks. The point of this article is to weed out the fakers that are trying to pass off their crap as originals." I entirely disagree. By this rationale, plagiarism is acceptable. Copyright infringement already illegal. Just because Rota doesn't call it a Volk, does not mean they are not infringing on copyrights. Fuck companies like Rota and their lack of design ability. They are after the quick buck by copying, or plagiarising as you suggest, designs so that their own lack of ability doesn't hold them back.

And then "Re: manufacturing in China. Location of production is irrelevant to the quality of the part. It's all about the quality control. If I need to buy a 304 stainless steel rod of 50mm diameter, +/- 0.01mm, I don't care where it's made as long as it meets the material specification (exact composition of elements) and the dimensional specification." It does matter where you buy it because material certifications in China are mostly fake. You'll think it's 304 until it starts rusting at room temperature a year later. Certify it is a Westernized country such as the US or the UK, and then it will be legit material. Certification in a country like China, Vietnam, etc. means nothing.

JDM Alex: We get your point man. Chill out. There's no need to be trying to beat it out of Mike, who supplies you with hours of entertainment on MotoIQ at no charge whatsoever. If he feels he doesn't need to mention who the OEMs are, tough shit. Deal with it. It's his prerogative. We know you are an angry enthusiast who cares. We all are which is why we are even here commenting at all. I've told Mike what I think about Seibon in person. And now you've told us, albeit a bit excessively, but perhaps a private message would be in better taste next time. Expressing what you want is important, but so is tact sometimes. There's a time and place for everything.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Tuesday, January 17, 2012 12:32 PM
Then there is the issue of using a design intended for a forging on a high grade of wrought alloy on a casting. That is an adulterated product.
JDMized
JDMizedlink
Tuesday, January 17, 2012 1:33 PM
@Mike:
I come on here to learn about cars not to make friends. This is not Facebook.
Like I said earlier, you are entitle to share as much as you want, HOWEVER, if you start mentioning that SEIBON is working closely with Japanese/ German OEM, and then stop your train of thoughts you CAN'T expect people to
not ask questions.

As far as me calling you a liar; to tell you the truth, I've been feeling you have been calling me a liar and making me sounds like an idiot. Yeah, I do not work in this industry. Does that mean I do not have close friends who do? Those friends (who shall remain anonymous) have told me this stories, and yes, I've spoken directly with the people mentioned above. Mike, if you call me a liar, you're calling a liar the people I mentioned above as well. Regardless.....I spoke my mind, and you know where I stand.

I am always greatful to come on here and learn something new about cars (like Eric said, it's free, and we should be all greatful about that). I mentioned it to you several times that I wouldn't mind to pay a subscription to read what you guys have to say (you disagreed, and that's fine).

Bottom line is; don't start a new topic or bring something up (that SEIBON does more than we think it does) and then don't finish (or share) your thoughts. You might as well not start it. That way people don't bug you with questions.
That's all I got to say regard this matter.
JDMized
JDMizedlink
Tuesday, January 17, 2012 1:48 PM
@Eric, you are completely right. If next time something like that happens. I'll speak directly to Mike thru PM. Though I felt that sharing my thoughts with other enthusiasts is not a bad thing. Got the message though.
Thanks.
TnF
TnFlink
Tuesday, January 17, 2012 2:09 PM
I don't want to interrupt but everyone has it's own right. The whole story was about fake parts not about the originality of work. I'm a 2nd year mechanical engineering student in one of the top uni's in Uk, and what we've learned in the Design class is that when there is an idea that works use it. It doesn't matter who though it first, or who made the development; for that reason there are patents. Faking stuff; selling copied parts under anothers' name is illegal and it is handled by law. Of course law, like everything is not perfect though we try always to improve it. The same follows with design. You get one idea and improve it. If it is patented you must get the permission, though you can always get the idea and develop your own parts. Seibon may started from low quality but you can't have the best quality when you don't have the right infrastructure. Which includes manufacturing equipment, as research equipment. Seibon has gotten better that's why now as Mike said produces OEM parts. You can't stop someone from getting better. Even if it wasn't at my time, my father told me what Mike said, Japan was once producing low quality parts but with time and effort they gotten better. If Voltex didn't want someone to copy their parts, they wouldn't sell them, or sell them privately. an example is some years ago, maybe even now, Mclaren had their F1 car painted silver, and shaded with a special way so the other teams couldn't copy the aerodynamic features. Same goes here. And from an engineering point of view, chinese engineers (a lot of them here in my uni) are very good reverse-engineering and cost management even if they are not great at innovation. The problem is all the magazines and websites that provide all the miss-information so that people get tricked into buying lower quality and many time non-safe to use parts. Instead of everyone complaining just spread the word about it like Mike did. And if Seibon has gotten better just get over it. Anyone who wants the best quality parts knows where to find them.
spdracerut
spdracerutlink
Tuesday, January 17, 2012 2:34 PM
Eric, I can see it from both sides. With Rota/Seibon stuff, I consider those 'style' items where people just want the look and Rota/Seibon are not trying to pass off as originals by using Volk/Mugen/Spoon stickers. Sort of like buying a cubic zirconia vs a real diamond. Not the same as buying a knockoff Gucci handbag that looks exactly like the original including copying of logos, etc.

Would I ever buy these cheaper versions? Never because I care about quality, durability, performance, etc, but unfortunately there is a market for products (across all industries) where people only care about the look. I see this as being different from this Cusco example in two ways: this fake is trying everything they can to look like the original including using the original logos. If they used their own logo/company name, then it'd be a cheap substitute. Not really good, but not horribely unethical. Rota isn't claiming to be a performance wheel that's lightweight, forged, etc which is why people buy Volks. So the two differencs are they don't claim to be the original and they don't claim to have the same performance benefits.

I consider this different than when people copy 'performance' parts like headers/cams/manifolds which actually requires science, engineering, and the associated R&D. I guess it can be argued that vented hoods require R&D, but a lot of them are just for looks or there wasn't much R&D on the original. Like a Mugen vented hood for the S2k, there's nothing apparently special about the design that gives it a unique performance advantage. Did they test 10 different locations to measure effectiveness? If they did, I imagine they would have published a white paper on it. Hell, I could be wrong though. But I think there is a blurred line when it comes to 'style' parts.

As for manufacturing in low-cost regions, the company I work for has a lot of suppliers in China because we sell a lot of product in China. But everything is still to our normal standard and everything gets checked internally. Like weld joints on various components, we have very strict specifications on the quality of weld with respect to cracks, depth, etc. All parts from all suppliers have to go through complete inspections by us and independent test labs before being approved for production; with welded parts, our materials group sections them and examines them under electron microscopes. So if we buy that 304 SS rod from a supplier in China, we send it out to one of our test labs for verification of composition. We've had a number of suppliers send us components that did not meet material specifications and they got rejected. So it falls on the company to make sure that everything component they use is up to proper specification, regardless of where it's made or manufactured. Yeah, never take what the supplier says at face value, regardless of the country they're in.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Tuesday, January 17, 2012 2:40 PM
JDM, whatever I am done with you, you know everything and everyone and exactly how this industry works.

Guess what, we are going to stat using Seibon on our project cars soon. We already use them for our race and drift stuff. I hope you like that.
JDMized
JDMizedlink
Tuesday, January 17, 2012 4:03 PM
No Mike, I don't know everything (far from it) but before you say things like, "it's your opinion" you may want to ask other folks that work in the industry." because that "it's your opinion" comment comes off as arrogant and disrespectful.
While I'm sure you can school me on many many subjects about cars and engineering, I'm also sure you don't know ALL the facts that surround the tuning (US market) industry on a regular basis.
You have your opinion, and I have mine. I ask you please to respect one another, that's all.
Eric Hsu
Eric Hsulink
Tuesday, January 17, 2012 4:38 PM
TnF: "when there is an idea that works use it" - yes I agree with that when you are referring to the concept of a 6 spoke wheel or a 72mm inducer compressor wheel, but when your 6 spoke wheel ends up looking exactly like a TE37 or your 72mm inducer compressor wheel ends up being identical to a GT4088 compressor wheel, then you're just a crook offering a copy. Design aspects should be changed to improve or change the way an item looks as to not infringe on copyrights, patents, etc.

Kheim: Yeah I know what you mean about the "style" low cost market products. I'm just not down with the ones that appear the same despite using their own branding (e.g. Volk/Rota). Now, if Rota paid Volk a licensing fee, then that would be legit. Until then, fuck Rota and their plagiarism and copyright infringement.

As for the material certifications, your company is large enough to have it's own labs and/or lab services. But many do not. It's just easier not to buy raw materials from China. Some of the Chinese are basically fucking crooks: ask for a sample, they'll send you a legit sample that will pass lab tests with flying colors. When you get your 2 40' containers full of "304 stainless" is when you get fucked with impure trash.

Alex: I don't think you're actually respecting Mike's wishes to not mention the names of the OEMs. There's nothing wrong with expressing your views, but to impress it upon others as "the absolute way things are" is another thing. You are obviously passionate about the industry, but like I said, your delivery could use a little tact. For example, "Hey Mike, what are those OEM names?" "That's messed up you don't want to tell us." "Maybe you shouldn't mention it next time." is really enough. To be attacking the guy because he doesn't want to give you those names is really excessive in my book.

Plus now you've been singled out by the owner of MotoIQ to be an asshole and that doesn't really help anybody because you can't honestly say to yourself "Fuck motoiq. That site sucks." You've been a long time reader so you know MotoIQ is the shit!
Jim
Jimlink
Tuesday, January 17, 2012 7:54 PM
When you want the public's attention, you have to deal with it all, good or bad.

I think when people talk about "China's growing middle class," they really mean Chinese people who can live like the American middle class because the real middle class in China is worse off than the lower class of America. Middle class meaning you are living the average life style of the entire population of your country. So when most people say China's growing middle class, they are actually referring to the growing minority upper class in China who have the luxury of buying performance parts.

# TnF
"If Voltex didn't want someone to copy their parts, they wouldn't sell them, or sell them privately. an example is some years ago, maybe even now, Mclaren had their F1 car painted silver, and shaded with a special way so the other teams couldn't copy the aerodynamic features."

So now it's the honest manufacturer that has to change his business practices and not the people who are trying to rip him off? I don't see how you can compare what a parts manufacturer is doing with a F1 team. They're in different fields. F1 teams get their money by sponsors and adds, not selling parts.

Improving on someone else's design is one thing and copying is another. Real improving involves testing or how else do you know that you have improved it? But if I take someone else's design and change a data point 0.000001 and then call it my new and improved design to make money then that's just ripping someone off.

# spdracerut,
Paintings are copyrighted. You can't take someone's painting and make prints to sell without the painter's permission.

"If they used their own logo/company name, then it'd be a cheap substitute. Not really good, but not horribely unethical."

So they're only stealing half vs the whole thing so it's okay?

It's true about sample vs what you get in the containers. Working in Asia I've heard many of stories about people getting fucked in other industries.
TnF
TnFlink
Tuesday, January 17, 2012 8:59 PM
# Jim And what you propose to do? You can't patent a hood design, and speaking legally i think you can't do anything about. There isn't any law which does not allow you to make parts dimensionally the same to others. It's like you are telling me mitsubishi would stop Voltex making parts because are dimensionally similar. And in parts dimensions play a big role, so any company would get away with it, even if it was making a 1 to 1 copy, claiming that the special features on the hood are needed for the part to work. Really this whole matter is just a legal one...and aero is something you can't patent so easily..it's a general shape, it doesn't have special feutures (though if we would talking for a dynamic self-adjusting spoiler, like the one ferrari had and got banned some years ago, i'm sure a patent exists for it) But a hood having some ducts on it? After all, it would be really stupid having such restrictions...and as another lecturer told us if the uni, if you see something that works, copy it if you can get away with it:D The solution is to inform the customers about the difference in quality in these products, chase down the counterfeits, move legally on to it (like apple did to samsung about the ipad and the galaxy tab-i don't now who won though;p) , start providing more mainstream products to the customers who don't have the budget for high end products, and lastly making more available their products worldwide...US is ok, Uk still lot more expensive, Cyprus-where i'm from, 3 times the original price. And if you are a budget like me, you look always performance vs price..Intercooler..i could get a chinese one, 300e with pipes (japspeed). But i knew it will heatsoak, and since i am always thinking about future upgrades, i cad one and had ets in us made it for me. ~600e without pipes, short-pipe fmic with the ability to be v-mounted. over 500hp reliable, pressure tested, 2-3mm thick sheet aluminium, 4" core with double the fin density. QUALITY vs PRICE much higher that the chinese ones. But when i was looking for turbo outlet, i couldn't find a tomei one at my budget, so i bought one of lower quality, since it will make the job. Engineering is all about practicality. (yes i know the last part is useless information but it fits somewhat in the subject.)
spdracerut
spdracerutlink
Tuesday, January 17, 2012 9:07 PM
Jim, you are correct that prints of paintings have to be licensed. The point was that people buying the print know they are buying a cheaper version and not an original; they want the look without the cost required of an original and all its detail. With this particular Cusco example, the fake is trying to be passed off as the real deal with the buying thinking they are buying the real thing.

And as I mentioned before, there's a difference between what I'd call 'style' parts which are all about looks (and require little development time) and 'performance' parts that require real engineering. I guess I should also add a 'generic' part category. In my opinion, there's nothing really special at all about the design of this Cusco oil catch can which appears to be a generic/universal design. Maybe the slot in the can which I guess is for mounting purposes, but that's a relatively simple feature, and no other features appear to make it better than anything else and overall, oil catch cans are simple devices. The extra cost for the Cusco is for the quality of workmanship and parts which improve durability. There are only so many ways to design one like there are only so many ways to design a cooking pot. Why do some pots cost a heck of a lot more than another when they look the same? Quality of materials, etc.

Now, if it were application specific and there was some clever engineering required to make it work specifically for that application, that's a different story as that requires an investment in engineering time that could be considered stolen.

And you guys are right about getting a container of crap. That's why random sampling is required.
JDMized
JDMizedlink
Wednesday, January 18, 2012 3:24 AM
Eric, I might have used more diplomacy, I agree. On the other hand (and maybe I missed it), Mike could have simply said, "I'm not allow to share this info with you, so don't bother asking", in which case I would have dropped it.
Either way, I love MotoIQ and what it offers. I'm not 18 anymore, nor I go on forums and rant about MotoIQ.
Mike might be upset, and I'm not. I see this all issue as "sharing info". I brought up what I witness few years back, and thought to be relevant.
I have never dealt with Seibon and probably never will.
Like I said earlier, Mike is entitle to have his opinion (about me, or any companies), and I simply have mine, but I do agree, I could have use a bit more tact.
Moving on....
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Wednesday, January 18, 2012 1:10 PM
I did say I could not tell. You didn't drop it.

" I am not at liberty to say who Seibon is the OEM manufacture for but if you knew, you would be surprised."
" I cannot say who the manufactures are because of agreements but it is not common knowledge."

Pretty clear to me.

Jim
Jimlink
Thursday, January 19, 2012 8:59 AM
#TnF
Your specific argument was, "If Voltex didn't want someone to copy their parts, they wouldn't sell them, or sell them privately." Your statement was about people coping Voltex exactly and not Mitsubishi OEM exactly. There is a difference because the Voltex hood is aftermarket and not 100% exactly like the OEM Mitsubishi hood. You say hoods cannot be patented? So if I made a complete aero kit with hood and someone copies my design 100% exactly, and just puts another name on it, then I have no right to sue them?

"There isn't any law which does not allow you to make parts dimensionally the same to others."

So I can make exact spec Snap On sockets and if I call them Snap Off, I can sell them with no patent problems because they are dimensionally the same?

"and as another lecturer told us if the uni, if you see something that works, copy it if you can get away with it:D" Don't you ask yourself why he would add, "get away with it?" Sounds really honest to me when ever someone tells me, "if you can get away with it."


# spdracerut
I hear you man. But then who is the one to decides when someone has crossed that line of creative infringement?
Wes Dumalski
Wes Dumalskilink
Thursday, January 19, 2012 9:25 AM
Going out on a limb here.... Lets say that a small company wants to produce a hood and has the design but not the means to properly make the product. They outsource it to a manufacturer that is already in that business (Seibon perhaps).... The original designer markets and sell it based on an agreement with the manufacturer. The original designer has to go in to this with the idea that they have shared the design. I would not be surprised if there was a contract that the manufacturer was not allowed to sell the product for a minimum period of time. Similar to the prescription drug laws/agreements.

IMHO this is not the bain of the industry as much as those selling copied items that are not branded differently than those they are copying and not marketing and selling as their own.

Let us not forget the consumer has a choice. When the consumer is presented with a choice to buy TE37's or Rota's they understand they are NOT getting Volk's if they buy Rota's. Copying a wheel that LOOKS the same is sadly less important. They are constructed so differently that you'd have to be less than Forrest Gump to think you are getting the same wheel.

Choosing to buy Cusco, Tial, or one of the many other replicated items and NOT getting the original is the issue here and what the article is about!

This is more buyer beware than anything. We all agree we do not like fakes or copy cat shit, so let's agree on that point and stop needlessly ranting....
silicosys4
silicosys4link
Friday, January 20, 2012 2:34 PM
The most dissapointing thing to me about this knockoff problem is that a lot of kids these days are actually talking mad smack about the companies that do the actual R&D on products as being "overpriced, gouging" etc...then go out and buy knockoff parts, that are basically ripped off reverse engineered designs, and then cry a river and get out of cars when they blow their build up.
silicosys4
silicosys4link
Tuesday, January 24, 2012 3:51 PM
I have been all but driven out of the dsm community by all the little kids high five'ing each other over how cheap they got their knockoff ebay parts for, who mock people that pay for legit parts, then start crying when their "built by ebay" car blows apart. Time to get an evo and start hanging out with adults.
Turbowned
Turbownedlink
Thursday, January 26, 2012 3:02 PM
So I bought a Cusco oil catch can from TheZstore.com and it doesn't say "Made in Japan" on the top.... Is it possible they are stocking fakes? Or is it possible that not all of the catch cans say "Made in Japan" on them? TheZstore is a pretty reputable company and I find it hard to believe they'd stock knock-offs like that.
spdracerut
spdracerutlink
Thursday, January 26, 2012 3:50 PM
It's quite possible that TheZstore got sent fake crap and they don't even know it. The same thing happened with fake walbro fuel pumps getting sent to vendors and they didn't know. Heck, back in the 90's, an F1 team got sent fake bearings which got through their inspection and caused a failure during a race.
CUSCO USA
CUSCO USAlink
Wednesday, August 15, 2012 7:20 PM
Dear Friends,

Just an update and would like to apologize for not chiming in earlier.

Since the upload of this article and our continuing battle with these persistent knock off companies (through Ebay), there has now been a large decline of the fake oil catch cans being sold on Ebay especially from the two main countries it was being shipped off from. The fact that many brand loyal consumers have also reported these counterfeit products to Ebay as well, after reading this resourceful article on MotoIQ. (Also much thanks to IT: Import Tuner Magazine also published this counterfeit notice but MotoIQ was the very first)
Cusco USA would sincerely like to thank MotoIQ and its readers for contributing to this ongoing war against counterfeit products. The movement has just begun, we may have won this battle but the war continues.
Thank you MotoIQ we are on Team Kojima forever!
-Cusco USA
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