Watanabes | Page 5 | The Z Club of Great Britain
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Discussion in 'S30 (240Z,260Z,280Z) Wheels and Tyres' started by vipergts, Nov 30, 2014.

  1. Albrecht

    Albrecht Well-Known Forum User

    I might need to ask a metallurgist for some guidance on that one.
  2. SeanDezart

    Z Club Member
    Official Trader

    You've got it all wrong guys - Durex 'ave been in the business since 1915 !
  3. datsfun

    Z Club Member

    Looking at the scale, portfolio and transparency of their operations, it does make you wonder about the whole argument that replica wheels are illegal...I was expecting the manufacturing plant to be a closely guarded secret, cleverly surrounded by a complicated maze such that if anyone wanted to bring legal claims, they would struggle to find the owners. Yet this is very much the opposite.

    So could it be that legally there is nothing the original design owners can do to pursue action as no infringement has occurred:confused:

    With the ever increasing relocation to low cost production centres ( the proud to be British brand Dyson moving production to Far East eg) wouldn't it be ironic that some of original wheels are also being manufactured alongside the replicas in this Chinese factory:p:lol:
  4. Matt Long

    Matt Long Well-Known Forum User

    And using A356 alloys, who knew?
  5. Matt Long

    Matt Long Well-Known Forum User

    And to TUV, it gets worse.
  6. Albrecht

    Albrecht Well-Known Forum User

    I take it this was news to you? This is where the Atara wheels are made, despite Atara being based in Malaysia.

    You can find similar manufacturing companies in China for pretty much any product sector you might think of. The ones that make the fake iPhones, Rolexes and Omegas are pretty easy to find too if you're looking.

    Do you honestly believe that there has been no infringement? Really?

    Last time I flew to Japan I struck up a conversation with a guy sitting in the next seat along from me. He worked for one of the big (I mean BIG) German aftermarket and motorsport wheel manufacturers. Interesting conversation. Next time I see you in person I'll tell you some of the things he told me about such Chinese companies and the trouble that his company are having with them, as I can't print them here.

    If you want to name any names, then please go ahead. I know that the likes of PAWI (based in the Philippines, and the manufacturers of the ROTA brand) actually manufacture OEM wheels for several large auto manufacturers, and such products are legitimate, fully tested and correct. However, there's a grey area when it comes to some of their other product.

    I think everybody accepts these days that manufacturing commercial products can be a global exercise. That's why my iPhone was made in China and my Sony computer wasn't made in Japan. Key point is control. Control of IP, control of manufacturing, control of quality and control of brand name. There is nothing inherently wrong with manufacturing anything in China, but there is an accepted problem with Chinese companies playing fast and loose with IP and brand names. Look at the first link in my previous post and you'll see a wheel blatantly being called a "Volk Rays TE37" when it is nothing of the sort. Look at the logo on the rim (most of them are crudely photoshopped off, but you can see some of them) and tell me if you think that "RAVS ENG." is the same as 'RAYS ENG.' (Japanese company Rays Engineering being the owner of the 'Volk' brand and the 'TE37' forged wheel design)?

    What do you think is happening here? Do you think the Chinese company based in Quingdao is the actual manufacturer of Rays Engineering's Volk TE37 wheels, and that the Chinese manufacturer is knocking a few out of the back door on the side without Rays Engineering knowing about it, not being able to do anything about it, or even condoning it? Pray tell...

    For most of the big brands - I include RS Watanabe, the original subject of this thread, in that group - their origin is clear. Such brands might well manufacture (or part-manufacture) outside their homeland, but the key point is that THEY are in control and the product is properly tested and certificated.
  7. Albrecht

    Albrecht Well-Known Forum User

    Presumably you believe that the "RAVS ENG." branded wheels are 'legit', too? You know, the ones that have the word "FORGED" cast into them...?
  8. zNathan

    zNathan Well-Known Forum User

    Would an RS Watanabe R type 16x8 et0 aluminium wheel be made to the exact same proportions as a R tyle 16x8 et0 magnesium wheel?

    Wish I could compare and see the small differences if there are, would be interesting to see how they determine which alloy requires further / lesser strengthening in certain areas.
  9. Albrecht

    Albrecht Well-Known Forum User

    In theory, no. In practice, it depends on date of manufacture (45-odd years of manufacturing in Watanabe's case...), exact design and size. Also whether they are cast or forged versions.

    I have several sets of RS Watanabe 8-spokes in both cast aluminium and magnesium, and contrary to widely held belief there are 'R' types in both aluminium and magnesium. You can see subtle differences between them, particularly in the central hub area and spokes, but it's difficult to be more specific on something that has such a wide variation of sizes and styles.

    Ultimately, I think it's a question best addressed to the manufacturer themselves.
  10. SeanDezart

    Z Club Member
    Official Trader

    And China (like anywhere ever since production was moved to cheaper countries - I'm thinking ex-colony/Empire ones) produces to a price - they don't say it can't be done, they just make it cheaper....

    Just like subcontracting road building (a subject I'm rather familiar with because I check internal and external workmanship) - dictate a price and you have for your money !

    When you've run out of room, please let me know ;) 8x15s / 16s with 0 offset.:driving:
  11. zNathan

    zNathan Well-Known Forum User

    Cheers Alan :)
  12. datsfun

    Z Club Member

    Not really. I was stumped by the portfolio offered by the operations

    I was making the observation as a simpleton. We live in a world where the lawyers are ready to litigate at the drop of a hat. So why haven't they thus far ? Is the Chinese jurisdiction a barrier to bring a successful claim or is it a case that proof of wrong doing is not conclusive?

    Which remind me, I must arrange a rendezvous; I need to collect a grille that you very generously offered to store on my behalf many moons ago and settle storage costs;)

    The ^^ example is deceit. Period.

    The wheels are purporting to be something they aren't. So I would expect the Rays Engineering lawyers rubbing their hands and pursuing this...

    On the other hand, if the Chinese plant deleted all casting marks and all reference to "Volk Rays TE37" on the copy wheel, I suspect the lawyers would be procrastinating on whether or not to pursue as its not so obvious a case of passing off.
  13. SKiddell

    SKiddell Well-Known Forum User

    Did you see the episode of "Top Gear" (Season 18 Episode 2) where the trio were in China driving around in "knock off" copies of cars such as the Smart, a BMW X5 and a Mini. When the question of "copying" was raised the Chinese attitude towards possible litigation was "so what" and futher more there was the implication that the government would protect them by blocking any potential litigation, I get the feeling that to their culture it seems a perfectly acceptable business practice almost.
  14. jonbills

    ZClub Administrator
    Staff Member Moderator

    I think the consensus is that China doesn't respect IPR owned outside China. I believe the US authorities believe the Chinese state is actively involved in theft of IPR. That being true, I don't think anyone is going to attempt IPR infringement litigation in China.
    So - who can you go after if a Chinese factory is ripping you off? small distributors in western countries, who aren't making enough money to cover the costs of your lawyers when you win in court. So you lose money litigating. So you don't bother.

    Absence of litigation isn't evidence of legitimacy, it just reflects commercial reality.
  15. monkeymagic86

    monkeymagic86 Active Forum User

    Ah, I always love these topics.
    Little reminder for some of you who are thinking that the japanese are #1 in inventing stuff.
    In the 60's 70's and even 80's they did exact the same thing as the chinese are doing today. Copying and producing at lower cost...

    Concerning Watanabes? Who told you all, that it was a japanese design, and that Watanabe should send their lawyers. 8 spoke Banana wheels were long before on UK cars. And there are still numerous companies in the UK selling these sort of wheels. Minilite, Compomotive, Superlight,... Some are older than Watanabe themselves.

    Same goes for the Hayashi street, a wheel Rota copied. But it's in fact a wheel that Hayashi copied from the italians in the 70's. Just because Hayashi or Watanabe are big and well known brands nowadays doesn't mean they invented these designs.

    And yes I will run genuine wheels on my Datsun (SSR), but I also raced on Rotas for the last 6 years on numerous tracks and different cars. Never had a single issue!
  16. Albrecht

    Albrecht Well-Known Forum User

    So who said that "...the japanese are #1 in inventing stuff."...? This is not about that, but if you want to go down that avenue then you might like to take into account the fact that what we call 'the West' has been plagiarising and copying 'the East' for centuries. Anybody drinking tea from a blue and white Wedgwood cup might like to remember that...

    Again, who said that the classic 8-spoke wheel design was "Japanese"? As has been pointed out in the thread, such designs were around in the early 60s at least and could probably be traced back to the late 1950s and beyond. It is a simple and effective solution to an engineering question thrown up by materials technology and - if you really want to go there - mother nature pretty much always got there first when it came down to it. What wheel manufacturer was first? My money's on the Brabham 8-spoke, but BRM would have been pretty close too. There were Japanese companies you've never heard of making such designs in the mid 1960s too (ie, before Watanabe...) so I'd be careful about claiming anything for the likes of Minilite, et al.

    But the big point here is that the likes of Atara and Rota are actively targetting the Watanabe wannabuy demographic. They target their wheels at people who would often rather have Watanabes, Volk, Rays, Speed Star et al if they could afford them. That's the whole point. People who buy Watanabe, Volk, Rays, Speed Star, Hayashi are not usually buying them because they are substitutes for something else...

    I often hear this, but the people who are saying it don't seem to be able to point out the EXACT wheel that the Hayashi 'Street' wheel was "copied" from. All they can come up with is something that looks vaguely similar in principle (and more so if you squint), but that's not difficult. In any case it's missing the point: Hayashi didn't market their wheels as cheap alternatives to Campagnolo or whoever, did they?

    Great, but I don't think anyone expected your Rotas to explode or melt, did they? I own some Rota wheels and they seem fine for ordinary use to me (I don't have a problem with them) but what bugs me is the grey area concerning the use of VIA and JWL testing marks on wheels which have never been specifically tested and certificated by the relevant authorities. What are your thoughts on that practice?
  17. monkeymagic86

    monkeymagic86 Active Forum User

    My post wasn't meant to upset anyone. English is onley my 4th language, so if some things sound different to what I meant, I'm sorry. Can't do better.

    What I wanted to say is the thing about "who copied who" argument.

    As for the watanabes, of course early motorsport companies where in the market long before watanabe. Brabham, BRM,... as you stated. In the previous post I listed Minilites and Compo as they are still in buisness. Even Konig, Empi make 8 spoke wheels similiar to Watanabes and no one bats an eye and I never hear people bashing an US or UK brand. It's always against Rota. Mean mean Rota doing fake ****!
    I hate it when I see wheels on alibaba etc. copying Wats,... and advertised as such, but for 80$ if you buy 60 wheels. Contrary to BR, AR,... Rota never advertised their wheels as other stuff or as the real deal.

    As for the Hayashis, they can be found on DeTomaso Mangustas. Take a look, for me they are quite similiar. But again, the bashing is against the Rota Shakotan. No one would ever question Hayashi.
    As before I'm just arguing design things and copyrights. Not if they are cheap or expensive,...


    I bought Rotas because I wanted to. Not because I wanted to show off or else. I have/had WEDS, Rays, Works, Heroes, SSR,... and Rotas in my life. And they weren't any better or worse. And trackwheels are treated way to bad to use 2000£ genuine wheels. Rota does not advertise their wheels as Wats, Rays,... It's the forums and dodgy resellers wich do it.

    Oh, and it's an easy way to earn street cred, just drive 14" rims. No one makes replicas of 14" jdm rims ;)

    To the JWL/VIA labeling, I'm 100% with you. Even though JWL approval is nothing really hard to achieve,...
  18. SeanDezart

    Z Club Member
    Official Trader

    I just like those mirrors.:D
  19. s2k_adz

    s2k_adz Adz

    I would never run Rota wheels. The whole copy thing really annoys me.

    Monkeymagic I see what you are saying regarding other brands but no other brand as far as I can see has an ENTIRE product line up from copying other wheels.

    Sure Konig do the Rewind which is like the Watanabes. But they have a vast catalogue of other wheels they haven't copied off Watanabe. Same for most of the other companies you mention. Bar Rota who's entire lineup copies Japanese legitimate companies. Even as new wheels are released!

    As Albrecht has said they actively go and copy Watanabe, Works, Rays. Go to a UK car show. It's a plethora of fake Rota wheels. The scene would be completely different if they hadn't have saturated the market in fake wheels that are from Japanese companies.

    Weather or not the Watanabe 8 spoke design is originally Japanese or not doesn't matter. The Work CR Kai design was. The 4 spoke Work Equipe was. The Enkei RPF01 and NT03 are German and have been ripped off by Rota..... Yet people buy them and actively promote the fact they have them!!!

    If the looky looky man on the beach in Spain sold you fake Raybans branded as BayRans would you then tell everyone you had BayRans?? People seem to see Rota as an actual legitimate wheel manufacturer and it really annoys me. They are all rip offs and as Albrecht also said I bet they are causing issues for legit companies.

    As for the price difference that's not even that much anymore! A set of 17" Rotas is what? About £750? Works in similar sizes can be bought new for around £1200. Is it worth a £450 saving to have a fake product that's heavier, debatably not as well tested and utmostly shows you are a sell out? Not for me.

    Back in 2008 when I first went to Japan the exchange rate was just starting to plummet. I remember at one stage I think it was nearly 190 yen to the pound. At the end of 2008 it was about 130. That made real Japanese wheels more unobtainable and I believe has worked massively in Rotas favour over the last 10 years. Hopefully this will change in the future!
  20. datsfun

    Z Club Member


    3+ years thread revival.
    franky likes this.

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