The whole real vs replica rim debate has been going off ever since Philippine wheel manufacturer Rota wheels ripped off the infamous Japanese wheel manufacturer RAYS forged TE37 and CE28 wheel designs. Sure, Rota had been ripping off Japanese wheel designs for some time (not one single wheel in the entire Rota range is an original Rota design, they’re ALL replicas of JDM hero wheels), but when they ripped off the TE37 and CE28 many JDM fans protested and there have been waves of discussions ever since.

Whilst lots of comments online these days revert back to “who cares?” – it’s pretty obvious that some people do. If you’re keen to know more, here are some links to some interesting reading:

In 2008 THE REAL JDM wrote a blog post titled: An Inconvenient Truth…about JDM – AKA The Death of Innovation – that blog post and a fair few others at the time started the debate of whether or not companies which make replica JDM goods were hurting the industry.

In 2010 Philippines pro Rota blog Custom Pinoy Rides took a low blow at Mark Arcenal and illest with an article titled: “Rota” and “Illest” Don’t Match No More… to which illest replied with an article titled: REPS OR REAL. where the solution for illest/fatlace was After much debate, we’ve come up with a solution where we hope everyone will be happy with. Featured Cars (these are the cars we contact to do a particular photoshoot) – Must be rocking the real deal while with Readers rides, Reps will be ok as long as cars fit the mold.

In 2012 Philippines pro Rota blog Custom Pinoy Rides again voiced their (obviously biased) opinion on Rota wheels with an article titled: Question on Durability of ROTA Wheels? choosing to focus more on proving that Rota wheels are of excellent quality, and trying their best to show that other brands also copy wheels (good try guys, whilst some manufacturers have products in their range that are inspired by others, most in question have original goods too whereas Rota do not). They even go as far as to quote Speedhunters’ Mike Garrett out of context.

Just 3 days ago Rota issued a warning statement to protect their customers from a recent proliferation of counterfeit ROTA Wheels around Asia. Hilarious! Rip offs of rip offs! You can read up on this new development on AutoIndustriya (also a Philippines blog which leads me to think that again, this is just marketing to try to validate Rota’s build quality) feature: ROTA Wheels warns against counterfeit products

Personally (this could be dangerous) I hate the very ethos of Rota the company and I often wonder how they manage to get away with running a business which specialises in ripping off other wheel designs. A few people have suggested that some JDM brands also take inspiration from other brands but none of the mentioned brands have an entire catalog of ripped off goods. Some people have pointed their finger at some JDM goods which lack build quality but in these cases I’ve found it’s usually one item in a range, and not every single item in the range.

If you don’t care at all I’m surprised you’ve read this far. If you’re still on the fence, take a look at Rota’s entire range of wheels; on loading this page, decide for yourself how it makes you feel:, if you’d like to share your thoughts and join the discussion be sure to get involved in JDMST’s latest (there’s been a few!) ‘Fake’ wheels. discussion thread.