Motor industry leaders say the flood of counterfeit and parallel products is a major cause of accidents in the UAE. Experts estimate that 80 per cent of spare parts fitted into cars here are fake and are urging officials to enforce stricter regulations to eliminate fake products.

"The use of fake spare parts definitely adds to the causes of accidents. Brake failures and tyre bursts are among the major causes," said Franz Amann, President of DaimlerChrysler, Dubai.
Eugene Robles, Sales and Marketing Manager of Central Motors Co, said, "There should be strict regulations on the usage of products where a life may be at stake. The European Union's road safety regulations can be taken as a model."

Robles proposed legislation under which insurance companies would reject claims on cars using fake spare parts and which become involved in accidents. "There can be regulations empowering the insurance companies to deny the settlement of a claim if they can establish the presence of fake products in vehicles in question," he said.

Auto industry officials also expressed concern over the growth of the counterfeit market. Robles said: "This is big - and I mean really big." Abdul Majid, an expert in the field for 20 years, said, "There are three kinds of products on the market: genuine, parallel and the counterfeit.

"The ratio between fake and genuine spare parts is 80:20 whereas the proportion of parallel and genuine parts is 55:45. This doesn't speak of a healthy situation." They were speaking in advance of Autostop 2000, a showcase for garage products.

Exhibition officials said that there was a need for greater consumer awareness of the menace of fake parts. Amanda Westerman, Project Manager of Autostop 2000, said, "Through the exhibition we want to create an awareness among the public and that's why the last day of the exhibition is open to consumers."

Autostop 2000 will begin at the World Trade Centre on November 20 and continue until November 23. The show is open to traders from 10am to 1pm and 4 to 8pm. On the last day it is open to the public from 10am to 6pm.

A "Garage Mechanic of the Year" contest, which began last month, will go into its final stage to select the winner on November 23. All finalists will be given cars to repair without having any idea what is wrong with them. They must identify the problem and solve it within a given time. The winner will walk away with 10 kilos of gold.