Counterfeit auto parts and memorabilia is big business. So big that Porsche has an in-house team of three “brand protection officers” who confiscated more than 200,000 items worth nearly $70 million last year, the company said last week.
About 80 percent of counterfeit items come from China. Some appear professionally made and are hard to spot as fakes, the company said, but others are obvious.
“The products are far cheaper than normal, or the Porsche emblem has been poorly copied,” said Michaela Stoiber, one member of the team. “We sometimes also find that a different animal is shown in the center of the logo. For example, instead of the Porsche horse, it could be a sheep standing on its hind legs.”
And then there are the truly bizarre items that try to leverage the automaker’s brand image. Stoiber, the company said, once impounded “thousands of erectile dysfunction pills shaped like the Porsche emblem from Turkey.”