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Author Topic: APR Deceptive Website and Marketing practices  (Read 198685 times)
crew219
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« on: October 31, 2014, 11:29:54 AM »

I’ll be using this page to point out changes APR has made in their website without notifying customers.

Table of contents:
APR exhaust composition
APR patent claims
more on APR exhausts and patents #wherestheRSC?

Example #1: APR exhaust composition

APR has long prided themselves on using T304L stainless, often claiming it as the best out of the T304 options. “L” designates lower carbon content vs “H” which stands for higher carbon content.  

Why is it that APR would suddenly remove the 304L designation from their website and simply call it “low carbon stainless steel”? That answer is simple: APR has been swapping in 409 stainless to lower costs. You can see a clear example of it here: on a Stage 3 MK6 GTI.

The short flex section is 304L, the midpipe with the cat is 409 stainless. You can clearly see the differences in surface corrosion between the two pieces (never mind the admissions I have from both current and former APR employees)

Original customer pic



According to this listing, 304 is roughly 50% more expensive than 409 stainless. There has been no reduction in the cost of the APR exhaust.

5ft T304 for $75

5ft of 409 for $50

Well why is this an issue?

When originally released, the RSC was advertised as a 304L Stainless system. You can see it in their release on their website as well as on forum pages.


APR webpage release
GolfMK6 APR Exhaust release

Those images and forum pages have not been altered to reflect the new change in composition of the exhaust.

Looking at the APR page for the MK6 exhaust above, you can see using the wayback archive that in 2010 when the product was released, it was claimed to be 304L
 Archived page from Feb 2010



Then in May of 2012, the description was altered to say low carbon and references to 304L were removed.
 Archived page from May 2012



Since 409 is cheaper than T304, you’d hope that there would be some reduction in cost to the customer. Nope! The pricing remained the same. In 2013, they even increased prices for the exhaust by roughly 7.5% from $1650 to $1775

Archived page showing higher prices

Since the pictures of the exhaust have not changed, one can only assume that they are advertising pictures of the T304L exhaust but actually sending out the versions that are partially constructed with 409.

What is also interesting is Arin’s use of this RSC illustration when promoting the Golf R exhaust. If you cut open an APR Golf R exhaust, it looks nothing like this. There is no resonator in the system that even resembles RSC technology.

Arin@APR's claims of RSC design in APR's Golf R exhaust



There may be more of this Golf R exhaust in a separate post.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2014, 11:44:25 AM by crew219 » Logged
crew219
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« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2014, 03:02:23 PM »

Example #2: APR patents

Often in APR literature, you’ll see references to their patented technologies, namely EMCS (multiple programs switching) as well as Direct Port Programming. This is an exploration into the truthfulness of those marketing claims.

EMCS:

EMCS filed for patents within 4 different organizations (US, Canada, Europe and World patent offices) and the patent was granted within the USA only in 2003.  A US granted patent would remain valid for 14 years if certain conditions are met. The patent applications in the other patent organizations are either dead or have been withdrawn (look at legal events for each patent).

USA EMCS Patent granted


WO EMCS patent application
EP EMCS patent application
CA EMCS patent application

DPP:

APR filed DPP for patents in three venues and was not granted a patent in any of those venues. Legal events for the patent applications indicate that they are dead or withdrawn.

US DPP patent application
WO DPP patent application
EP DPP patent application

So where’s the controversy if APR has/had an EMCS patent?

1)   APR never had a DPP patent, yet it was falsely advertised on their site as such.

Claims of DPP patent on APR’s website You can google for more references on forums etc.



2)   The APR EMCS patent is no longer valid and can be considered public domain.

APR’s patented EMCS page

Quote from: APR
EMCS is available for this car. EMCS is APR's revolutionary patented Enhanced Modular Chipping System. EMCS is an industry leading technology that brings many new features to the automotive enthusiast. This technology was developed exclusively by Audi Performance & Racing, LLC and demonstrates APR's continued commitment to lead the industry with the most technologically advanced products available

What happened to the EMCS patent?

In short, it expired due to non-payment of maintenance fees. During the lifespan of a US patent, there are three maintenance feels at the 3rd, 7th and 11th years of a patent. APR paid the 3rd year fee of $450, but failed to make the 7th year payment. They also did not pay it within the 6 month grace period and failed to petition for reinstatement up to 2 years after the expiration date. Thus, the APR patent for EMCS has been listed as expired since 2011.



Should APR still be advertising it as a “revolutionary patented Enhanced Modular Chipping System” if the patent is no longer enforceable?

Why would APR abandon its only patented IP over a paltry maintenance fee when it is hyped up to be a great achievement and offering over competitors?

Some OGs might remember when Autospeed came out with program switching via the cruise control stalk in 2009.  APR quickly flexed its muscles and stopped that product from reaching the consumer. In 2010, Autospeed came back with program switching via Speedport.  Take a look at Speedport and take a look at APR Mobile. I’m sure it brings a smile to some faces  Grin

That being said, since the ECMS patent is now expired and considered public domain, other companies can utilize the functionality and offer it as part of their calibration suites. Personally, I would not have abandoned the patent over a small maintenance fee.
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beemercer
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« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2014, 04:57:24 PM »

good info on the exhaust, sad to see shit like this but +rep to you for doing the research
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slow4
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« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2014, 06:39:26 PM »

That being said, since the ECMS patent is now expired and considered public domain, other companies can utilize the functionality and offer it as part of their calibration suites. Personally, I would not have abandoned the patent over a small maintenance fee.

Does this mean the possibility of having bad copycat APR files roaming around the internet and potentially written onto someone's ECU?
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crew219
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« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2014, 08:12:27 PM »

That being said, since the ECMS patent is now expired and considered public domain, other companies can utilize the functionality and offer it as part of their calibration suites. Personally, I would not have abandoned the patent over a small maintenance fee.

Does this mean the possibility of having bad copycat APR files roaming around the internet and potentially written onto someone's ECU?

That's already been happening for years on ********  Wink


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FastEddie
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« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2014, 11:57:42 AM »

Damn!  Just when you think most of APR's bullshit is exposed, some more shit comes out. 
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slow4
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« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2014, 12:06:54 PM »

That being said, since the ECMS patent is now expired and considered public domain, other companies can utilize the functionality and offer it as part of their calibration suites. Personally, I would not have abandoned the patent over a small maintenance fee.

Does this mean the possibility of having bad copycat APR files roaming around the internet and potentially written onto someone's ECU?

That's already been happening for years on ********  Wink


If only I could read past the asterisks and figure out what venderzine forum you are referring to.
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bangoman
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« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2014, 01:24:32 PM »

That being said, since the ECMS patent is now expired and considered public domain, other companies can utilize the functionality and offer it as part of their calibration suites. Personally, I would not have abandoned the patent over a small maintenance fee.

Does this mean the possibility of having bad copycat APR files roaming around the internet and potentially written onto someone's ECU?

That's already been happening for years on ********  Wink


If only I could read past the asterisks and figure out what venderzine forum you are referring to.
Not sure if joking. In case not it's not audizine. It's nephmoto
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crew219
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« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2014, 02:03:54 PM »

That being said, since the ECMS patent is now expired and considered public domain, other companies can utilize the functionality and offer it as part of their calibration suites. Personally, I would not have abandoned the patent over a small maintenance fee.

Does this mean the possibility of having bad copycat APR files roaming around the internet and potentially written onto someone's ECU?

That's already been happening for years on ********  Wink


If only I could read past the asterisks and figure out what venderzine forum you are referring to.
Not sure if joking. In case not it's not audizine. It's nephmoto

Yep. I tried several variations of that and it kept on coming up as asterisks.
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slow4
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« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2014, 02:24:27 PM »

I had to google that site; I remember someone RECENTLY referencing that site on the AZ B6/7 S forums.  Is that site legit?
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« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2014, 03:13:13 PM »

I had to google that site; I remember someone RECENTLY referencing that site on the AZ B6/7 S forums.  Is that site legit?

Legit for thieves?
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« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2014, 03:28:16 PM »

I had to google that site; I remember someone RECENTLY referencing that site on the AZ B6/7 S forums.  Is that site legit?
Exchanging of hacked and stolen tunes.
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slow4
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« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2014, 03:40:47 PM »

...inform me please...

Is this the site Mec was talking about, in regards to someone stealing an APR tune and then re-selling it as his own tune for a particular shop?

I remember hearing/reading something like this, somewhere.
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crew219
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« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2014, 03:48:51 PM »

...inform me please...

Is this the site Mec was talking about, in regards to someone stealing an APR tune and then re-selling it as his own tune for a particular shop?

I remember hearing/reading something like this, somewhere.

Yep, several companies' (not just APR) tunes are ripped off and posted there. Other shops have chosen to tweak those files and resell them as their own.
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FastEddie
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« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2014, 02:08:17 PM »

My buddy had an exhaust leak on his Golf R.  I asked if i could take some pics to show.  Exhaust isnt 2 years old yet.  You can see the cracks in it. 

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mfractal
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Re:
« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2014, 03:23:49 PM »

lol, premium hardware... what a piece of crap.
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mec
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« Reply #16 on: November 11, 2014, 12:44:36 AM »

I had to google that site; I remember someone RECENTLY referencing that site on the AZ B6/7 S forums.  Is that site legit?

A lot of people will tell you that its thieves, and its a horrible place. A lot of people will tell you its a fantastic resource. I've been a member over there for 2 years, I go on and off.

I'll be honest, yes, people do steal coding all the time. There is a thread on there where a guy is talking about how he copied "certain canadian tuning" for anti lag launch control. Sure enough Chris Tapp of Eurodyne comes into the thread and asks Tony, the site moderator and owner, if he believes that this is OK, for hard work to be copied and reused. Chris was quite upset that his hard work was now in the hands of ********** users. Tony replies to Chris saying, yes I think its fine, its going to be stolen at some point and its better that it be on here for free than somewhere else for money. Basically telling Chris Tapp, you have no support here, go complain elsewhere.

So yes, coding is stolen from tunes all the time, but it is also a very valuable resource, I've met a handful of good guys over there, people who truly care about learning how to remap an ECU, people who actually care about helping other people move forward, about teaching. In particular there is one guy over there who really knows his stuff, i'll avoid names to not draw attention, but the guy has just a clearcut love for coding, and for tuning. He developed his own method for switching tunes on the fly, he coded his own features into his ECU and shared them with the community, and he tries to help the community at every turn he has. To be best of my knowledge, he is not a thief, he uses hard work to develop his own inventions, and there are those people like hiim that make it a good community as well.


Its like any other place on the internet, in the world, anywhere, there are good people who use the resources available to move forward, and there are bad people who abuse the resources and put off a bad image.
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crew219
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« Reply #17 on: November 12, 2014, 11:42:58 AM »

Example #3: APR Exhausts & Patents (Where’s the RSC?)

Since the switch from Billy Boat in 2008, APR has been heavily promoting the use of RSC technology in their exhaust line.  Heralded as a drone-free solution, APR is quick to promote their exhausts photos of expensive-looking mufflers as well as claims of prestigious association.

Many of you have seen this cutaway that APR has posted numerous times both online and in product literature. You can read all the claims that APR makes about this technology on various product pages, including my favorite, “RSC™ incorporates innovative technologies developed in conjunction with NASA.”



Corsa’s patent for RSC technology is very specific, with several illustrations of muffler designs as well as explanations for how the RSC works.

Corsa RSC patent





Now unfortunately, I have not found this technology in APR’s exhausts. It is questionable whether or not it has ever been present in an APR exhaust. Has APR been aware of this? Yes.

If APR is not putting RSC in the exhausts marketed as RSC, what is actually in these APR exhausts?  From what I’ve seen and have been told by people investigating this issue, most of the mufflers are either standard perforated core mufflers with inadequate fiberglass packing, short quarter wave resonators which are sized for frequency ranges beyond that of human hearing and poorly constructed Helmholtz resonators. There are also instances where there was a muffler casing welded onto a straight pipe to give the appearance of an muffler without any of the functionality!

I’ve been provided photos of three APR exhaust platforms, VW Golf R, Audi B8 A4 & Audi B8 S4. The pictures speak for themselves. All cutaways are shown with exactly what was in the muffler. Nothing has been added or removed.  Also, I did not personally take any of these photos.



VW Golf R

The first muffler in the system is a standard perforated core muffler. As you can see, APR markets it as RSC technology. There is no RSC technology. The muffler internals are poorly constructed out of non-304 stainless (409 & 439). The fiberglass packing is poorly arranged with minimal packing and much of it left in the bags it was packaged in.



To give you an idea of how dense the fiberglass packing should be, here is a cutaway of a megan exhaust (bargain brand) muffler.



The second muffler in the Golf R system is even more shocking as the can is essentially hollow.  The cap on the outlet is the quarter wave resonator, but the length of the resonance tube is too shore to provide any sound cancellation beits within meaningful frequency ranges.



Nevertheless, look back at the original APR RSC cutaway as well as the RSC patent docs… no RSC here.

As posted earlier, Arin defended the exorbitant cost ($2275) of this system by claiming “Here's what a typical RSC system looks like.... The Golf R is many generations newer and far more complex. Welding this is not easy and the price unfortunately reflects that.” To me, that rear can looks less complex and easier to weld than an actual RSC muffler.



Note: the TTRS exhaust is essentially two of the rear Golf R “mufflers”.


Audi B8 A4


This is the center muffler on the B8 A4 “RSC” exhaust. The front resonator is a standard perforated core resonator (No RSC). The center muffler also does not contain RSC. What you see instead is a Helmholtz style resonator (hole in pipe venting to an empty muffler chamber) as well as a small quarter wave resonator. Again, there is no RSC, but it is labeled as such by APR as having the RSC design. The rear section is also said to not contain RSC, but that will have to be verified by photos.



APR also makes a stink about this B8 A4 exhaust having smooth bends and transitions. As you can clearly see from the muffler cutaway, the bends and transitions are anything but smooth.



Update 11-18-2014, B8 A4 rear muffler photo


Perhaps they didn’t bother with the “golf ball test” because of the gaping hole in the piping through the muffler?


Audi B8 S4

The B8 S4 system consists of two extremely long perforated core resonators (Not RSC) which dump into a center resonator which hasn’t been photographed yet. I’m told that it isn’t RSC but am awaiting photographs to confirm it. The rear two mufflers are found to be merely straight pipes with no perforations or cutouts (Not RSC, not a muffler). Now the exhaust that was cut open has a 2010 build date. From a more recent thread on audizine, I see that they added the same tiny quarter wave resonator as well as the cutout to make it into a Helmholtz-style resonator.  You can also see the issues with the quality of construction in the Audizine link.
  
The pictures of the double perforated core resonators are from a west coast car with 15k miles on it after one year. The piping throughout is rusted and the welds have failed.



The following are from a different B8 S4. As indicated by the owner, the muffler’s welds failed and when cut open, he discovered nothing but a straight pipe without perforations or any other features of a muffler.




Nevertheless, with both the original straight pipe or the later quarter wave / Helmholtz addition to the rear mufflers, both designs are not RSC.

MK6 GTI



Just another modified design of the quarter wave / helmholtz resonator. Instead of having the T branch off on the pipe inside the muffler, the "T" is external and still dumps into the empty muffler casing. How many golf balls were stuck in this muffler when performing the “golf ball test”?

Miscellaneous

More photos / cutaways may be provided in the future.

There are long wait times in getting any APR exhaust product warrantied.  

One customer indicated to me that when he called Corsa, they responded with: “Why would we warranty a product we were never paid for?”

After last week’s SEMA event, several attendees who spoke with Corsa indicated that they’re looking to part ways with APR soon. If anything, Corsa’s product sheet reinforced that idea.

Since the only functional designs of noise reduction in the APR exhaust systems are quarter wave and Helmholtz resonators, I found it amusing what APR had to say when questioned about RSC vs Helmholtz (what AWE markets in their exhausts)




Thoughts and conclusions about APR exhausts:
   ----There has been a reduction in quality of the materials used (from T304L to various grades of 400 stainless)
   ----Exhausts were falsely advertised as containing the patented RSC design.
   ----Pricing has increased while quality and material selection have become worse
   ----APR claims a lifetime warranty but customers have been having issues getting exhausts warrantied both through APR & Corsa.
   ----This may present serious legal issues for APR as they sold these exhausts with false claims.
   ----I’m sure NASA does not approve of their name being used in APR’s marketing literature.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2014, 07:02:38 AM by crew219 » Logged
sakimano
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« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2014, 12:16:32 PM »

That's fucking staggeringly bad.   Straight up lying and double charging for garbage.   

APR should repsond to this.  They're reading the thread/site pretty regularly.  Surprised they don't step in and make up an excuse at least.  I guess when you're dead to right you can't say anything, so ignoring is the only strategy to follow.   


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« Reply #19 on: November 12, 2014, 12:57:44 PM »

Wow..that pretty much sums up my thoughts.
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« Reply #20 on: November 12, 2014, 01:14:07 PM »

Ouch!!! I'm sure APR won't have a single thing to say about any of this. Even if they do, it will be more lies. Let's face it...that's what they are best at nowadays anyway.

While I don't have any photos of cut open exhaust systems, I can in fact vouch for these RSC-less systems and Corsa not being paid in a timely manner...if at all. Typical APR fashion though.
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cory_can
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« Reply #21 on: November 12, 2014, 01:16:17 PM »

Interesting.  It seems I'm one of the customers that was lied to as I have an APR "RSC" exhaust on my B8 Avant.  You have me curious, I almost want to open up a resonator to see what lurks.
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crew219
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« Reply #22 on: November 12, 2014, 01:18:29 PM »

Interesting.  It seems I'm one of the customers that was lied to as I have an APR "RSC" exhaust on my B8 Avant.  You have me curious, I almost want to open up a resonator to see what lurks.

The RSC design is pretty specific. You can look into the exhaust with a borescope and if certain elements that are present in the patent are not found, you don't have RSC.

Dave
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« Reply #23 on: November 12, 2014, 01:21:39 PM »

I had an APR RSC turboback on my Golf R and while it didn't really drone these posts really make me wonder if what I had was RSC technology. Sure as hell doesn't seem like it. One of my friends had his welds fail on the very back muffler, also on a Golf R.

I really wish this thread would exist earlier as I would of checked one way or another and possibly went after to get my money back for false advertising as this is pure bullshit.
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« Reply #24 on: November 12, 2014, 01:22:59 PM »

DAMN!!!!!  Just plain stealing
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