Rota Wheels do not enjoy the best reputation among tuners. While they do have some defenders, there's one thing about the wheels that's universally recognized: Rota designs are imitations. Now, in kind of a hilarious twist, it looks like they're battling copycats of their own.
The Filipino company mimics the style of specific premium wheels from outfits like Ray's Engineering and Mugen, executes the design using less expensive materials and methods, then sells them to those who can't or won't spend the money on the "real thing." They're not exactly known for quality, though — whenever I see Rota mentioned in a thread on a car forum, I usually scroll down to see posted pictures of Rotas shorn off at the spoke.
That in mind, I couldn't help but see some irony when Rota issued the following statement to automotive news sites in and around the Philippines, where the problem seems to persist. It made its rounds on forums like VWVortex as well, where one user brought it to our attention:
The counterfeit [ROTA] wheels have recently surfaced through some wheel dealers in Malaysia. They are manufactured in China. The most distinct feature of the 'copies' is that they are embossed with a ROTA marking on the face of the wheel, whereas the genuine ROTA [wheel] has none. They also come with a center cap bearing the 'ROTA Wheels' logo. They are packaged in plain brown boxes. Original ROTA wheels come with boxes that feature ROTA markings and 3D wheel drawings.
"ROTA Wheels undergo rigid testing using JWL/JWL-T standards to assure you that you are purchasing quality wheels. We cannot guarantee the safety of the copies so please be careful with your wheel purchases," said Michael Rojas, president of PAWI.
ROTA and its logo is a registered trademark of Philippine Aluminum Wheels, Inc.
Genuine ROTA Wheels are made proudly in the Philippines.
In other words, copycat wheelmaker Rota is worried about copycats. It's hard to not find that at least a little amusing.
Perhaps Rota has finally risen to the premium-spec brand level they tried to emulate for so long. They finally get to experience what they built their business on — remaking someone else's ideas. Well, you either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain, right? I just hope nobody dies driving around on any of these twice-over-counterfeit rims.
Since it seems the alleged counterfeiters couldn't be bothered to cross-check what sticker they were slapping on their knockoffs, unwittingly knocking off a knockoff, they probably didn't spend a whole lot of time doing R&D for structural integrity.
I feel like these same guys might put a Faux-rrari bodykit on a Fiero, leave the Pontiac badges on the hood, and try to sell it to me as a classic Italian import.
Should Rota be rip roaring mad that someone's stealing their idea, and logo, or is this a case of a copycat’s comeuppance?