Fleet News

Grey import market grows, despite warnings

A DEPRESSED used car market had no impact on grey imports which continued to grow during 1998 topping 150,000 cars by the end of the year. Despite plunging residual values in the UK, privately imported cars are still on the increase, totalling 42,355 in the third quarter of 1998, a rise of 8% on the previous three-month period, according to information solutions firm Experian.

Japanese cars, particularly Toyota, Mitsubishi and Mazda, remain the most favoured import, and Experian says it has found that more than half of all privately imported Japanese cars were manufactured before 1993 - and many do not conform to EC specifications. Steve Kilmister, director of automotive services at Experian, has warned against going for a grey import as a used car bargain.

He said: 'Many grey imports have failed the Japanese MoT test and will be built to Far East, not European specifications - rustproofing may be inadequate and engine management diagnostics could be in Japanese. We are also aware that many finance companies will not lend money on them, giving problems when trying to sell them.'

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