One-in-seven imports from UK have a 'hidden past' new report claims
* 7,000 cars a year could have been previously stolen, written off or have finance owed: study
More than one-in-seven secondhand cars imported from the UK have a 'hidden past' according to startling new data.
That means they could have been previously written off, stolen or still have finance outstanding on them.
A relatively high percentage have failed their British MOT, the figures claim.
While it has long been acknowledged that a certain amount of 'dodgy' vehicles have been dumped on the Irish market over the years, the fact that as many as 7,000 could be involved is likely to prompt renewed concern.
The data has been compiled by MyVehicle.ie which is owned and operated by Vehicle Management System (VMS).
The latter provides services to the automotive industry, insurance companies, vehicle assessors, financial institutions and motor dealers.
They say they have released the findings to "highlight the importance of conducting a thorough background check before purchasing a second-hand car, which has been imported from the UK."
We are not, by all accounts, big users of background check facilities.
MyVehicle.ie say only 20pc of those buying a used car will have its background checked out.
Some observers may see such highlighting of the risk around used UK imports as a means of increasing the number of paid-for checks carried out on cars.
However, if it helps someone avoid buying a bad vehicle, there would appear to be a substantial benefit for motorists thinking of bringing in a car from the UK.
A total of 47,798 used cars were imported last year, with the vast majority from the UK, judging by the official SIMI figures.
Specifically, of the 53,692 imported back in 2014, as many as 49,945 came from the UK, according to the statistics supplied to Motors by MyVehicle.ie.
On the basis of one-in-seven having a 'hidden' past, that means around 7,000 could have had something not-quite-right about them.
Additionally MyVehicle analysed UK cars imported so far this year and found that 23.71pc had recently failed the Ministry Of Transport road test which is the British equivalent of our NCT.
Their survey also found that 19.99pc of vehicle imports had mileage discrepancies.
'Independent Motors' has previously reported extensively on the prevalence and dangers of imports that have been 'clocked'.
A MyVehicle statement says: "Although there are services available, it seems that the majority of potential car buyers out there have not incorporated a car-history check as a crucial element of their vehicle purchasing process."
Our low rate compares with the near-80pc of car buyers in the UK who use a vehicle history check service before they make a purchase.
This leaves those buyers "a lot less likely to end up with a used vehicle that has been clocked, cloned, written off and has outstanding finance owed," according to MyVehicle.
The company says: "With only one-in-five potential car buyers in Ireland running a report before they buy, the Irish market can be a hot-bed for potential scammers to sell their dodgy and potentially dangerous cars."
It re-emphasises the point that more than 15pc of cars imported to Ireland from the UK have some type of hidden history.
Justin Kavanagh, MD of MyVehicle.ie believes Irish consumers need to be careful when purchasing a used vehicle in general and in particular a UK import.
He says: "I feel it's time that we stop Ireland from being the UK's dumping ground for vehicles that have been written off or clocked and the only way to do this is for potential buyers to get smart and to stop accepting someone's word or honest face."
He advises: "Do your research, check the vehicle's background history yourself, to ensure you are buying a vehicle that is legitimate and safe".
The danger with cars that have finance still outstanding is that they can be seized and taken away by the bank or lending institution to whom repayments are still owed.
The unsuspecting buyer can, in such circumstances, be left with nothing and at the loss of potentially thousands of euro.