Fleet News

High-mileage prejudice rife

THE problem of car clocking could be slashed if everyone in the motor industry did more to challenge the prejudice against high-mileage vehicles, industry experts claim.

As values are tied closely to mileage, cars with very high odometer readings can be difficult to sell or achieve less than vehicles of a similar age with a lower mileage. Indeed, last year, some industry figures claimed that cars with more than 80,000 miles on the clock were virtually unsaleable.

But the Retail Motor Industry Federation says the focus on mileage is contributing to a rise in clocking (artificially winding a vehicle's odometer back to make it look younger and therefore fetch more money), with estimates suggesting 1.4 million vehicles on UK roads show a 'distance discrepancy'.

Ray Holloway, director of the Retail Motor Industry Federation's independent garage and fuel division, believes lessening the emphasis on recorded mileage could reduce the practice.

He said: 'The modern motor car is built to be used. It is a tool for going about everyday business and is intended to last for a long time.

'As a result, we need to update our attitudes towards high mileage vehicles. Just because a car has a high mileage does not mean that there will necessarily be anything wrong with it.

'The build quality and engineering of modern cars means that if it has been well looked after and has a full service history, there shouldn't be anything actually wrong with it.

'Yet despite these technological advances we still foster a dislike of well-travelled vehicles in our customers.'

But the low financial value placed on high mileage secondhand cars means that there can be a monetary gain for motorists if they dishonestly reduce their cars' mileage before selling.

The federation argues that if high-mileage cars were valued based on their overall condition, there would be less incentive to tamper illegally.

Holloway said: 'The emphasis on mileage is a UK phenomenon. In mainland Europe the industry is set up in a way that allows for high-mileage vehicles.

'As people are easily able to drive between countries, high mileage cars are more common, but if they are looked after they will be worth more than they would be in the United Kingdom.

'If the motor trade placed a higher value on good condition, high-mileage secondhand cars, it could help reduce this illegal activity.'

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