Mini, through the establishment of FMEF – has today begun to take action against a car identity fraud ring allegedly passing off counterfeit cars as Minis. FMEF, “Fake Mini Eradication Force” will co-operate with Mini and international law enforcement agencies to bring the counterfeiters to justice.
Counterfeiting schemes are nothing new, although up until now they have been confined to exclusive fashion and jewellery brands.
In recent weeks, however, a number of vehicles crudely disguised to look like Mini Cooper and Mini Cooper S models have been appearing in on-line and classified advertising publications. Even worse, several Mini faker-ers have been spotted pedalling their fake Mini wares to innocent victims in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.
Several of these have been brought to the attention of Mini.
In the defence of its brand identity, Mini will today begin taking civil action against the perpetrators.
As a first step, Mini is alerting the Australian car buying public to the existence of the counterfeiting ring, and urges buyers to exhibit extreme caution when offered a vehicle for sale purporting to be a genuine Mini.
Justin Hocevar, National Manager Mini said: “We have a duty both to our owners to protect their valuable investment and to prospective pre-loved Mini buyers to warn them of the pitfalls of buying non-genuine used Minis.
“We have had to act to protect the integrity of our MINI NEXT Approved pre-loved Mini programme.
“That’s why we’ve constituted FMEF to work with us in this endeavour.
“And today we have written to all our owners and supplied them with a FMEF pack in the hope that they can assist us in our quest to stamp out the Mini faker-ers before it’s too late.”
According to Mr Hocevar, the Mini faker-ers have attempted to emulate many of the iconic Mini styling cues in order to fool unsuspecting buyers, applying items such as customised roof flags, mirror caps and bonnet stripes
“Just because a vehicle has bonnet stripes or a Union Jack roof decal, does not make it a Mini” he said.
“Mini is known for its chic styling, exuberant performance, go-kart handling and seemingly endless customisation options.
“The first fakes we detected were quite convincing.
However, as the faker-ers have grown more and more greedy, their attention to detail has slipped and the ones we are seeing now are a pretty poor pastiche of parts purporting to pass themselves off as MINIs” he said.
“While they might be able to get away with a pair of cobbled up twin exhaust pipes or dodgy bonnet stripes, trying to re-create the exhilarating “wheel at each corner” driving dynamic is another thing altogether.
“Mini simply will not allow customers to be conned in this way.”
Buyers of pre-loved cars discovering counterfeit Minis are asked not to approach or try to make contact with the faker-ers involved. These are desperate people who have demonstrated they’ll stop at nothing in their quest to infest the market with these ghastly fakes.