Buyer Beware – The Influx Of Second Hand Cars From The UK

UK Car Imports Hidden Histories

According to leading Irish car history experts,, the number of imported vehicles into the Republic of Ireland this year is significantly up on the same period last year. National figures for UK Imports are up 31% year to date 2017 over 2016 (67,938 from 51,760 – Jan to Sept 2017 over Jan to Dec 2016).

The increase in used car imports brings challenges around areas such as ‘clocking’ of odometers, finance issues, and general reliability of the provenance of the vehicle a person is buying. The increase in import figures is compounded by the new diesel regulations being introduced by the UK government. These changes mean the potential for the ‘dumping’ of older diesel engine vehicles into the Irish market, is quite high. In a recent interview, Conor Faughnan of AA Ireland revealed that he believes as many as one in five cars from the UK could have ‘clocking’ or other ‘hidden history’ issues. The progression to digital odometers in modern day vehicles means that it’s easier to clock cars than ever before and also much harder to spot the ones that have been tampered with.

Value To Be Found?

While in some cases there will no doubt, be value to be found, there is also the distinct possibility of unreliable or ‘hidden history’ cars in the market.

When questioned on the subject of this steady rise of imports to Ireland, Michael Rochford, Managing Director of Motorcheck, said; “The increases in UK imports is mainly due to the favourable exchange rate with Sterling caused by the Brexit vote. This is also exacerbated by the fact that new car sales were already at relatively low levels from 2009 to 2014. As a result, there is not enough indigenous stock to supply the used car market in Ireland. The UK government’s new strong anti-diesel policies are also affecting the residual value of diesel cars in the UK at the moment meaning these types of cars and vans are accessible very cheaply and in large numbers, usually to car dealers around Ireland. All of this is bound to fuel the fire even further when looking at the trend for imports in short to medium term future”.

While one would expect the Northern counties to be the most significantly impacted (and they are) the other border counties and Dublin are the next largest areas to see an influx of these vehicles. Limerick, Galway and Cork have also experienced a surge in UK registered vehicles over the past 12 months. The advice for anyone thinking of buying a second-hand vehicle, either from the UK or Ireland, is to use a car history checking site, like Motorcheck, before purchasing and get a vehicle expert to verify it also.

Have you purchased a clocked or hidden history car before? Please share your story below if you have.