Recently, I just went through the website of a local wheel vendor and I was amazed by the generous deals they offer on wheels like Volk Rays TE37s, which are being sold for about AED 2000 for a set, which sounds extremely skeptical. The funnier part is statements like quality, originality are being tossed around that site.
The UAE market is pretty much flooded with fake wheels and other counterfeit products. Spotting fakes is becoming harder as the days pass, ricers might fancy the idea but not everybody is willing to cheap out on safety, performance and quality. Please note, this article is not meant to demean anyone for buying replica wheels; rather just a reminder for people to be careful out there and not to end up being ripped off.
‘Emulating’ designs of other leading brands, like what Konig or Rota does is not the real concern, as long they abide to certain quality and safety standards.
For example, the first wheel in the below pictures is a Watanabe R-type and the latter one is a Konig Rewind. This is usually done to shave off some of the design and development costs which yields to a reasonably priced wheel crafted from less expensive materials but with a completely unoriginal design.
Though buying an original branded wheel, like Rays, copying its design and form, to create cheaper copies using whatever material that is deemed ‘good enough’ is where things start to get serious and dangerous. The added bonus are the retailers who attempt to sell you a cheap copy as an original.
Several UAE wheel vendors do attempt to sell counterfeits as originals. Luckily, some of them will have the decency to tell that you are buying a replica (usually after you ask) and will charge you accordingly. Later on, the catch comes when they rip your off with the price of the tires but this will be another story for another day.
Researching this topic can be a long challenging process and usually the end conclusion is, it will always be really hard to spot a real from a fake, for an average person, as they get better with counterfeiting everyday.
The UAE is pretty much a grey market with no specified laws regarding counterfeit rims, mainly from china, that are cluttered all over the place and at times placed next to originals, adding more to the confusion. It will take months of roaming around to figure stuff out here.
A personal suggestion would be: keep those steelies and wheel caps for a while, take your time saving up for a set of genuine wheels and buy your products from an authorized distributor or order straight from the manufacturer. Otherwise, make sure you know what you are buying and if it is worth the money.
As a matter of fact, what would you think are the best or worst brands of wheels being sold locally? What are your stories or experiences with counterfeit products?