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Toyota launches legal action over asbestos brake pads

The counterfeit brake pads suit HiLux utes and HiAce vans sold between 2004 and 2015.

A Federal Court case has been launched against unscrupulous importers of bogus brake pads as Toyota tries to locate the dodgy parts.

Toyota Australia has launched legal action against distributors of counterfeit brake pads containing deadly asbestos.

As reported exclusively by News Corp Australia on Monday, thousands of bogus brake pads that suit more than half a million vehicles -- 400,000 HiLux utes and 100,000 HiAce vans sold from 2004 to 2015 -- have been imported into the country illegally.

As industry experts renew calls for tougher border controls, Toyota has issued a statement to dealers saying the company is "taking steps to prevent these suppliers from making further sales of these counterfeit parts".

The counterfeit parts are sold online in what appears to be Toyota packaging

News Corp Australia understands Toyota is trying to source the list of customers or other distributors who may have sold the imitation parts -- and then compel them to replace the bogus items with genuine parts, or refund customers.

Despite the apparent danger to public health, a recall cannot be issued because "no manufacturer has put their name and brand to these products".

The counterfeit parts are sold online in what appears to be Toyota packaging for a quarter of the price of the genuine brake pads.

The Toyota bulletin says the company is working with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and Customs (Australian Border Force) to try to pinpoint the origin of the deadly parts.

A Toyota spokeswoman said: "We are cracking down on counterfeit parts that put customers' safety at risk. It is very concerning to us that not only do these parts contain asbestos, but they are able to be sold in Australia. We are demanding that the suppliers stops selling these parts and, more importantly, contacts all those who have bought the brake pads and replaces them with genuine products free of charge."

It is the second time in three months Toyota has launched Federal Court action against importers and distributors of potentially deadly counterfeit parts, following an alert regarding fake airbag components.

Last month, a News Corp Australia investigation found "tens of thousands" of counterfeit wheels to suit a wide range of car brands -- made from defective material -- had been imported into Australia, easily bypassing customs border controls.