Tuesday 21 May 2019

Clocking: call for EU-wide database and cross-border deal to ease crisis

Wider clampdown demanded, despite NCT checks, as 'the mileage is altered on 20pc of UK imports'

There is a growing car-clocking crisis
There is a growing car-clocking crisis
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

Tightercross-border cooperation and an EU-wide database on mileage are needed immediately to cope with the growing car-clocking crisis, it is claimed today.

Cars crossing EU borders are more likely to be clocked, figures show. And now a senior Irish MEP is pressing for buyers to be better protected - sooner rather than later.

Deirdre Clune, Ireland South MEP (Fine Gael) and EU Transport Committee member, is exasperated over how long it is taking for protective checks to be put in place.

She first raised the issue with the EU's Transport Commissioner back in 2015, but there has been little or no progress.

Considering that consumers face being ripped off by buying clocked cars the commission's lethargy is surprising.

And we're not talking UK imports alone - clocking is prevalent across Europe, statistics suggest. But clocked UK imports have been a prime concern for Irish buyers for some time and have been highlighted regularly by Independent Motors and the likes of history-check company Cartell.ie.

There are indications as many as 20pc of UK imports have had their odometer tampered with. That's a 37pc increase on last year and reflects, among other things, the big increase in numbers buying imports.

Ms Clune says: "This is why we need cross border cooperation and an EU-wide database to ensure we deal with clocking. It's the only way to stamp it out in a single market.

"The key issue is not what each country is doing individually. Ireland has already moved to make car clocking illegal in 2014. The real issue is that cars crossing EU borders are shown to be more likely to be clocked."

Mileage fraud is something the commission needs to tackle 'head on'. She quotes estimates that up to 30pc of all used cars are clocked in the EU, costing consumers between €5.6bn to €9.6bn a year.

People need an EU-wide database of car mileage so they can compare and contrast mileage readings, she says.

The commission has implemented a "road worthiness directive" which includes a check on mileage and applies as of May 20, 2018. Ms Clune says is not nearly enough - while it lays the groundwork for an EU-wide database it does little for those buying cars here and now.

Belgium appears to have one of the best clocking solutions. Their CarPass system uses a central database into which mileage readings are regularly fed - such as when a car is in for repairs. The system shows the registered odometer readings and the dates they were recorded. Irregular odometer readings have plunged.

In the UK new research by car history experts HPI claims the number of cars being clocked has gone from 1-in-20 in 2014 to 1-in-16 last year. It estimates 2.3m cars have incorrect mileages.

ADAC, which represents 18m motorists, claims one-third of the 2m used cars sold annually in Germany have lower-than-real mileage, defrauding buyers of €3,000 per vehicle on average.

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