Recently on social media various stories were shared regarding manufacturers of counterfeit big brake kits that are branded to resemble Brembo and AP Racing products.
Based on the news story from HK Apple(and published by zerotohundred.com), the said Chinese counterfeiters proudly manufacture the brakes and even have a showroom to sell them at one third of the cost of the originals. According to the sources, the counterfeiters have been exporting the said fake brakes to Malaysia, but we can now say that the fake big brakes are also sold in the Philippines.
We contacted AutoPerformancePH president Francis Aguila (the official and exclusive distributor of Brembo products in the Philippines) about the fake brakes and he confirmed with us the presence of fake big brake kits in the country.
“We have indeed spotted many examples of fake Brembo brake products through unauthorized dealers all around the country,” said Aguila. “This development is alarming and potentially dangerous because brakes are not components to be taken lightly, as we as motorists and car enthusiasts depend on them to bring us to a safe and complete stop.”
The proliferation of counterfeit parts (components that are manufactured by an unauthorized third party and sold with the branding of other, more reputable companies) is commonplace in the Philippines. Counterfeits are cheap and offer a similar, if not same, look as the originals.
“Unlike fake aesthetic parts like stickers or steering wheels, brakes undergo a lot of stress everytime the car is in motion,” continued Aguila. “These fake Brembo brake kits may not have been properly and independently tested, certified or warranted to provide reliable stopping power over time.”
“Brembo S.p.A. invested over 78 million Euros on research and development in 2013 alone to ensure the products they market to customers are the very best in the business. To ensure that you are buying a geniune Brembo product, visit our website or Facebook page for a list of Brembo Authorized Dealers nearest you,” concluded Aguila.
Brembo Philippines provided AutoIndustriya.com with a comprehensive guide to spotting and identifying a fake brake kits as opposed to an original like the one above.
For the sake of spotting fakes, the easiest way to do that (in the past) was to look at the actual product. Here are three signs that the kit you are buying is fake:
1. Check the bobbins on the brake disc. If they look like bolts or rivets, then it's probably fake. Brembo only uses the D-type or H-type bobbins for the GT Kit. Sometimes people will say that the discs and pads are Taiwan or aftermarket, but the caliper is Brembo. However, Brembo NEVER sells the caliper alone. Most likely these are either completely fake calipers or surplus calipers that are repainted. Of course, the pistons, piston seals, and internals may or may not be in proper working order.
2. Check the caliper design. There are kits being sold using old Porsche calipers that are repainted. You can tell an old Porsche caliper by its shape - it looks like a half circle, almost like a macaroni pasta. These are definitely surplus, and again you aren't sure of the condition internal components.
3. Check the specification of the caliper and disc for your car. Most of the fake kits have a one-size-fits-all policy, almost always using a 6-piston caliper and 380mm disc. Brembo has over a dozen caliper designs ranging from 2-piston to 8-piston units, and even more discs, ranging from 294mm to 405mm. Each design is specifically engineered for a specific car application, and in many cases, the 380mm disc is much larger than what's needed. Aside from the obvious quality and safety issues, this usually leads to reduced performance as well. If your car cannot maximize the stopping power offered by a 6-piston, 380mm system, then you've just added unnecessary unsprung weight, and (in the case of the disc) much greater rotating mass. This leads to a slower car, with (ironically) worse braking performance.
There are more and more sophisticated counterfeits that are more and more difficult to spot. The only real way to ensure you are buying an original genuine Brembo product is to buy it from an authorized dealer.