10% of UK car imports are clocked

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10% of UK car imports are clocked

As many as 10% of second hand cars imported from the UK have had their odometers doctored and mileage readings reduced.

As many motorists will know, this practice is called clocking. The number of UK car imports has been steadily increasing year on year in the last couple of decades.

from 2000 to 2008 with 33,000 being brought in last year alone and 23,000 imported to the end of September this year. It now emerges that almost 1 in 10 of those cars has a false mileage. The public affairs manager for the AA, Conor Faughnan commented:
“Some Irish consumers are being taken for a ride as Ireland is seen as a dumping ground.”

It certainly is very possible to get a good deal from buying a car in the UK and importing it into Ireland but buyers should also be aware that they may not necessarily get a better deal as sometimes you can find just as good a deal here in Ireland when you factor in travel expenses, hotels, VRT etc. connected with travelling to the UK and then importing the vehicle.

Certainly, anyway, it is worth checking out the value available locally as part of your research. An Irish dealer will also be nearer at hand in case there are any problems with the vehicle. Conor Faughnan went on to say:
“If you are planning to bring in a car from Northern Ireland or Great Britain make sure that you check its history.”

MyVehicle.ie also offer a pre-purchase on-site vehicle inspection which makes sense before parting with thousands of Euro.

Believe it or not, modern cars are actually easier to ‘clock’ than they were in Arthur Daley’s time when rolling back the tumblers required some skill and nowadays it is all done digitally through connection with a computer.

The Manchester Evening News carried out an investigation in the UK this year into clocking and queried various councils. The number of reported cases of car-clocking across Greater Manchester has rocketed in four years – with the economic downturn apparently fuelling the rise. Out of the councils that supplied the paper with figures, Manchester has seen complaints of clocking double since 2006. For example, Tameside council has seen four times as many reported incidents as the average over the last five years.

The British Office of Fair Trading (OFT) estimates that car clocking is costing consumers up to £580m a year nationally.

The Office of Fair Trading has called for UK government to ban or regulate mileage-correction services. Clocking is becoming an increasingly serious issue that the clocking rates for imports into Ireland is higher than that found in the UK itself.


Justin Kavanagh
Justin Kavanagh is a recognised leader in automotive intelligence and vehicle data supply to the entire motor industry. He has almost 20 years experience in building systems from the ground up. As the Managing Director of Vehicle Management System, he understands the need and importance of trustworthy and reliable vehicle history and advice to both the trade and the public.
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