According to the Acting President of the newly formed Union of Independent Auto-Businesses and the owner of one of those shops Konstantin Lenshin, more than 20 Toyota and Lexus spare parts shops were closed down in Almaty on November 25, 2013. The businessmen had received letters from Toyota Motor Corporation asking them to pay fines for illegal use of Toyota trademark and stop any further sales of the spare parts and threatening them with lawsuits if they don't comply.
The head of the Entrepreneurs Initiative Group Pavel Kim pointed out that this difficult situation was caused by imperfections in the legislation that regulates relationships in the field of intellectual property.
The businessmen have filed a request asking the Government and Parliament of Kazakhstan to allow them to make parallel import of original Toyota spare parts. Such permission would serve to eliminating the monopoly of the official dealer the emerged after all the shops selling original Toyota parts were closed down.
Spare parts businessman Rustam Vafin said that the Initiative Group was preparing a letter for Toyota Corporation headquarters. He believed that there was a chance that the company was not aware of the situation in Kazakhstan.
Toyota Corporation representatives in Kazakhstan explains their action as an attempt to clean the market from counterfeit goods. However, the shop owners believe that the ban will have a directly opposite effect: by rooting out shops legally trading in original spare parts on the grounds that they use Toyota label without an explicit permission, Toyota Corporation basically invites the counterfeit spare without the company's label to storm the Kazakhstan market.
According to the businessmen, 30% of all cars in Kazakhstan are Toyota or Lexus, but only 10% of the Toyota cars owners - mostly those driving cars manufactured after 2008 - are serving they cars at the official Toyota Centers.
A BMF Group lawyer (representative of Toyota Motor Corporation) Zhanat Nurmaganbetov told the entrepreneurs that they were not banned from procuring the spare parts from official dealers or directly from Toyota Motor Corporation, and reselling them. But the owners of the closed down Toyota spare parts shops replied they had been buying the original spare parts from the official dealers in the Custom Union member-countries before, but this still got their shops closed.
By Dmitriy Khegai