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Used Car Market

Restore European consumer trust in the used car market

Introduce EU-wide technical and legislative measures to tackle odometer manipulation for both new and used motor vehicle

Odometer manipulation is widespread across the European Union and has tremendous consequences for the consumer. Also known as “clocking”, it is the practice of rolling back a car’s mileage counter to show a false reading, lower than the car’s actual mileage, in order to boost the sales price.

 

Since many years CECRA is strongly committed in fighting against such a harmful practice. CECRA’s commitment, which has recently resulted in a European Parliament resolution urging the EC to take action, has produced some good results in terms of increased awareness among the EU decision-makers, and we hope that it will also meet the goodwill of the future EC so that we can eventually put an end to this shameful phenomenon in the EU. 

 

A 2018 European Parliament study found that up to 40% of used cars traded across borders are “clocked” and that citizens EU-wide incur a loss of € 8.9 billion per year, under conservative assumptions and without taking account of the consumer damage from manipulated vehicles sold in within a same country.

Besides inflated costs for the consumer, odometer tampering has adverse consequence on road safety, the environment and substantially distorts the functioning of the used car market in the EU. 

 

At CECRA, we want stricter measures to prevent mileage fraud and improve the consistency of penalties across the EU. More specifically we recommend:

  • the creation of national databases and mandatory exchange of mileage readings across the EU

  • recognition of odometer tampering as a criminal offense across all EU countries

  • technical Inspections to include regular registration of vehicle mileage readings

  • integration of tamper-proof technological solutions by car manufacturers, with blockchain being considered as a possible measure

 

Some European countries (i.e. Belgium, the Netherlands) have successfully managed to bring down the number of manipulated cars to almost zero. We believe that big results could also be achieved at European level by simply capitalising on their experience and extending it to all the other EU Member States.