There's a new sheriff in town, and he doesn't like sham operations selling auto parts under the names of General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and the Mopar division of DaimlerChrysler Corp.

The Big Three have formed a posse of sorts, formally called the Global Industry Network, to hunt down and seek charges against parts counterfeiters, in addition to protecting against future criminal activity.

“We are speaking with one voice on this issue,” says John F. Smith, general manager of GM Service Parts Organization. “We have identified areas of common concern that threaten fair competition, product integrity and safety, our employees' job security and our bottom lines.”

Mr. Smith says the counterfeiters are “well organized, well funded and often know our markets as well as we do,” and often have links to criminal organizations around the world. He says counterfeit parts “seldom meet even a single GM specification or performance standard.”

The Federal Trade Commission estimates that counterfeiting has cost automakers $12 billion worldwide.

In recent months, GM has raided 14 counterfeit retailers and four print shops in the Middle East. As recently as Sept. 5, an automobile glass factory in China's Guangdong Province was raided and several automakers' branded glass windshields were confiscated. In Mexico, Argentina and Brazil, Ford has identified several dozen counterfeiters producing and trafficking everything from wheel covers to suspension parts to air filters.

Mike Jordan, president of Ford Automotive Consumer Services Group, adds that counterfeiters are expanding into a wider variety of parts.

Darrell Davis, senior vice president-Global Service and Parts, says brake pads are very popular with counterfeiters. “They may look like the real thing, but they simply don't meet strict standards for wear, noise and overall performance,” he says.