Monday, October 10, 2011

Replica Rage

I recently stumbled upon a Group Buy for a front lip. A Group Buy for a replica Access Evolution front lip for a G35/G37. A Group Buy with more than 40 people on the list to buy.
Access Evolution Front Lip (V36 Sedan)

There were over 60 responses in this thread before someone made a negative remark about replicas. And so, once again, the debate ensued.

One of the justifications for buying a replica over the authentic is price.

If the quality is the same then what would the issue be? Just to say mine came from Japan? If buying more expensive parts (although not always better quality) makes you feel better about your car then go for it. Just a lot of people don't see a point in spending more money for a very similar product that they can get for less.
If you don't like replicas then don't buy them. End of story. 

That is not the end of the story. That is hardly the end of the story.

I do not believe it is necessarily an argument about the quality of the product or the money. Yes, there are some quality replica parts out there. Yes, of course, cost figures largely into the equation. To some people, however, it is about something more. Something bigger. To some, it is about ethics. Principles. It is about refusing to fake the funk. In buying a replica, one is hurting a company; a company that puts forward an effort and resources to create a product. By supporting a separate company that steals the design of that product and cashes in on it, one is hurting the mastermind behind the original. It's that simple.

If someone does not want to spend the money on the real thing, fine. There are alternatives. However, when one chooses to buy a replica, he is supporting a company that has done absolutely nothing by way of conception, design, or R&D. They have done next to nothing to deserve someone's money. That company is taking credit and, subsequently, being rewarded for someone else's ingenuity. That, I think, bothers me more than anything else.

The company AutoKits-X posted in the Group Buy thread. That made me wonder whether they are the company that is producing this fake lip. Or are they just going to cash in by selling it, as they do with the fake Top Secret lip they sell for the V36 coupe?

The response I received from AK-X when I inquired of them as to why they sell knock-off parts: "We are just giving consumers what they ask for. We have had our products copied, too."

A great response. Brilliant justification for ripping off a company in Japan that does all the legwork. I guess since it has happened to them, we are supposed to sympathize? That makes it okay? AutoKits-X is one company that will never see a dollar of my money for the simple reason that they are selling many knock-off parts.

Instead of making the uninspiring effort and meager investment of buying one authentic lip from a Japanese company and copying it, why can they not design and produce their own lip and sell it? Why must they rely on the creativity, originality, and innovation of another company to put money in their pocket?

And, most importantly, why is that okay with people?


  1. No surprise. These companies have no morals, no creativity, and no integrity. Not to mention most of the time the fakes fit like a square peg in a round hole.

  2. Bump for you fighting the good fight. Agree with everything in this post. Hopefully people will eventually wake up and realize the damage this is really having on the industry.

    I have no bones about cheap parts, but blatant copies is NOT OK!

  3. Thanks for the comments. I think educating people and trying to lead by example is the best approach to this plague. Realistically, replicas and knock-offs are not going anywhere any time soon. I am not suggesting that chastising or ridiculing those who buy fake parts is the proper response. However, in simply refusing to compliment on the forums or refusing to 'feature' those corner-cutting cars in publications and on blogs and websites we are doing our part to, as Jay of JDMEGO would say, "defend authenticity" and support the true visionaries of the industry - we would not be perpetuating the notion that it is okay to fake the funk.