Work Wheels Japan rips off L.A. based Fifteen52 wheels by copying wheel designs under their new ‘Seeker Series.’ That Golf posted up above doesn’t have Fifteen52’s. They sport Work Wheels Seeker NX’s…
Work Wheels from Japan are synonymous with original design and uncompromising quality built on decades of timeless wheels and one-off custom fitments. But according to their latest line of wheels dubbed the Seeker Series, it looks like Work Wheels literally copied L.A. based Fifteen52 Wheels on at least three of their designs.
Although the 2016 Tokyo Auto Salon was just last week, rumors about this blatant rip-off didn’t hit mainstream social media until earlier this week when Matt Crooke, Fifteen52’s own in-house wheel designer, posted up a side-by-side shot of Work Wheel’s new Seeker Series and Fifteen52’s wheels. We’ve posted that Instagram post below as well as links to each.
According to Matt Crooke,
"“Honestly, Work Wheels Japan, it’s flattering, but it’s also a little disappointing that as a company with a history of your stature you would blatantly replicate a small enthusiast driven brand like Fifteen52…but I guess it is the norm these days in the wheel game.”"
And here are the wheels in question with their respective prices (for one wheel) converted from Yen to USD.
- Seeker GX ($520) / Fifteen52 Tarmac TR ($800)
- Seeker SX ($450) / Fifteen52 Tarmac F40 ($800)
- Seeker NX ($500) / Fifteen52 FR43 ($800)
Believe it or not, USDM style is quite popular in Japan. The same way that car enthusiasts in the United States draw inspiration from JDM builds, so do Japanese car enthusiasts follow trends in the United States in order to stand out from the crowd.
The replica wheel market is one that largely goes unregulated with knock-off wheels being part of “playing the game.” Oftentimes a third party in other parts of Asia/East Asia will blatantly copy a wheel design of Japanese origin and sell it as their own for a fraction of the price, much to the chagrin of the original manufacturer. This time, it looks like Work Wheels took a page out of those infamous replica wheel makers and made a knock-off of an American design.
The unfortunate truth is that those prices will most likely affect Fifteen52’s sales. Even worse, this might inspire other medium-tier wheel makers like Rota and XXR to make knock-offs of Fifteen52 designs as well (as they’re already known to do with other best-selling wheels.)
It’s a low blow on the part of Work Wheels and they’ve definitely lost some credibility from their U.S. fans. The best we can do to support original designs and their manufacturers is by choosing their products and urging those considering buying the cheaper options to take the higher road.
The original founder and owner of Work Wheels, Takeshi Tanaka, unfortunately passed away last year. We wonder if he’d let this slide under his radar if he were still around today.
h/t- Formula Derp