Officials in Brazil cracked down on a counterfeiting ring said to have built fake Ferrari and Lamborghini luxury cars from scratch. The counterfeit cars were sold at a fraction of the originals’ market value – and with much weaker engines.

In the southern Brazilian city of Itajaí in the state of Santa Catarina, investigators of the Polícia Civil have busted a large underground workshop for counterfeit sports cars of the Italian luxury brands Ferrari and Lamborghini. The officials seized several partially completed vehicles – including two fake Ferraris and six counterfeit Lamborghinis – as well as various production materials.

The counterfeiters told police they had purchased finished brass car parts and mounted them onto self-made chassis, according to local media reports. The fake luxury sports cars were then fitted with far less powerful engines made by other manufacturers: “It was possible to have a Ferrari with an Omega or Monza engine,” said a representative of the Polícia Civil.

According to the police inquest, the fakes were made to order and sold online throughout Brazil via social media networks. Apparently, the counterfeiters charged between 40,000 and 60,000 euros (180,000 to 250,000 Brazilian real) per vehicle – about ten times less than the market value of the original luxury cars.

The counterfeiters’ scheme was detected after representatives of the affected brands had filed a complaint against the fraudsters with the Polícia Civil in Santa Catarina. The authorities have initially refrained from arresting the suspects – according to Polícia Civil, criminal proceedings are being initiated against „the main counterfeiters of the brands [Lamborghini and Ferrari] in Brazil.”

In Europe, authorities had previously dismantled an underground factory for counterfeit sports cars in Spain. Back then, counterfeiters near Girona had copied cars of renowned brands such as Ferrari and Lamborghini by converting used mid-range vehicles from other manufacturers such as Ford, Peugeot, and Toyota.

Sources: Polícia Civil, NSC Total