Friday, April 19, 2013

Justifying Corner-Cutting

I have been known to be outspoken when it comes to the replica/knock-off debates on automotive forums. I do not often hesitate to make my sentiments on the topic known. As of late, I have been relatively quiet on this front (partly because it has not surfaced too much recently). However, a thread recently surfaced on the forum I frequent most often. A member posted an inquiry about a replica front lip. I should note that this inquiry spawned as a result of another member starting a thread bragging about a certain replica company building him a "custom" diffuser. This publicity sparked the second member to research this company. He visited the company website and found a front lip that he found attractive. (These points are relevant for reasons I will discuss momentarily...)

The lip in question is a replica of an Access Evolution design. The particular company, not to be mentioned as I see no need to give any further publicity, is known for their replications of popular Nissan/Infiniti designs. The creator of the thread, despite numerous pictures to the contrary, refused to acknowledge that it is, actually, a replica of the Japanese company's design.

After multiple members, with pictures of the real deal, assured the member that the lip was, indeed, a replica, he shrugged it off in an indifferent manner.

"As for all the 'replica' talk, that's mostly pointless posturing. There's nothing wrong with a derivative design, and it's not like it means jack here in my suburban neighborhood."

"I realize that there's a whole modding community that spends big $$$ on appearance kits. But that's not why I created the thread, and it's not even remotely a priority with me. My G is just another daily driver that sees very little mileage, the bulk of which is in driving my kids to and from sleepovers."

I have seen and heard many justifications for cutting corners. Many people who sport replica parts on their cars have their distorted absolutions and recreant rationalizations for putting their money into the pockets of the companies that steal proven designs. The above statements are just more of those rickety rationalizations. Sadly, they are also exactly what is wrong with the community of modding enthusiasts. First and foremost, the design is not "derivative." It is an exact copy. Secondly, what does one's physical location have to do with supporting a replica company? The company you are ultimately harming by putting money into the pockets of its underminer does not care whether you pull your car through your white picket fence and park it in a 3-car garage on Spring Street in Suburbia or whether you call the urban jungle your home. You are supporting an intellectual property thief regardless. Furthermore, when you post on the immense social construct that is the internet, whether it be a picture of your car or a comment praising a replica company, one's 'voice' is amplified dramatically. Additionally, if one is going to attempt to downplay the role their car plays in their life by suggesting that it is "just another daily driver," then why look into aftermarket parts at all? Why not keep it 100% stock? Why not just use it to transport children? Why modify it? You cannot play both cards... "I like to modify, BUT, because I use it mainly to do family-type things, it is acceptable for me to rock replica parts..."

No. Sorry.

A couple months ago I posted my thoughts about Nissan posting a picture to their Facebook page of the Formula Drift Z33 sporting a replica bumper with a banner advertising said company (the same replica company that steals Nismo designs) across the front of it. I could not understand it. Why broadcast to over 1,000,000 Facebook followers a car that is tattooed with a replica company that rips off Nissan's own performance company? Is this real life? This is where the massive power of the internet can harm the industry. Just as broadcasting the name of a replica company on the bumper of a highly visible drift car, we bring attention to replica companies when we praise their efforts. We perpetuate the notion that it is okay to fake the funk. And for what are we praising their efforts? For undermining other companies by stealing! Sadly, this occurs when a so-called enthusiast of the modifying culture, whether he hails from a suburban neighborhood or the inner city, offers an excuse for cutting corners and broadcasts his car featuring fake parts on an automotive forum or social media outlet.

The real deal Access Evolution carbon lip on a G37 sedan

JDMphasis... Innovation over Imitation 


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