Prague, 9 May 2018 – The European Parliament’s Committee on Transport and Tourism has issued a report drawing attention to the alarming situation of the trade in vehicles with tampered odometers. The establishment of national odometer registers, which are still lacking in the Czech Republic, is a basic element that must be expanded throughout the European Union in order to create an international database. However, this is not the only recommendation made by the members of the EU parliament.
According to the MEPs, the profits from illegal tampering with odometers may be considerable due to the low price of the equipment needed and the artificially increased mileage. Studies indicate that 30 – 50% of vehicles sold across borders have had their odometers tampered with, which represents total economic damages across the Union of EUR 5.6 – 9.6 billion. “We have been drawing attention to the issue of tampered odometers on cars imported into this country for some time now. The history of these cars is conveniently ‘lost’ and the odometer readings are thus de facto legalised. The German ADAC automobile club published an interesting study in which it pointed out that tampering with odometers is also a significant issue in Germany itself, in spite of the fact that it is a crime. Odometer tampering increases the value of a vehicle by EUR 3,000 on average. According to the ADAC, the damages incurred by customers amount to EUR 6 billion per year,“ warns Karolína Topolová, Managing Director of the AAA AUTO dealership network.
“The situation is alarming when we consider that most foreign cars are imported to this country from Germany. And the cars do not just have their odometers tempered with when they are imported, but also while they are being used in Germany. We have been calling for this situation to be dealt with for several years and, like the Committee, we believe that the linking up of national registers with regular registered odometer readings is a solution,” said Topolová, who added, “In 2015 we also conducted a survey in collaboration with the Czech ÚAMK automobile club which drew attention to the situation regarding tampered odometers in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The survey showed that every second used car had had its odometer tampered with“.
The Committee held up Belgium and Holland as examples of countries with functioning national databases and registers operated by non-profit organisations or a government agency. The linking up of national databases on a European level should be possible using existing infrastructure such as EUCARIS. “We hope to see much from the development of legislation in the European Union. The individual member states are gradually imposing stricter rules and implementing laws that take two approaches. One approach involves penalties for odometer tampering and the other involves the gradual establishment of databases with entries coming from MOT stations and other entities that may have data on the mileage of a vehicle. For example, a register is to be launched in Slovakia next month, receiving data from insurance companies, dealers and court experts. In Poland a public debate is taking place regarding the crime of odometer tampering. And in this country, an amendment has been submitted to Parliament which will prohibit odometer tampering at the risk of a fine of five hundred thousand Czech crowns. This law should come into force in May,“ said Petr Vaněček, Director of Operations for the AAA AUTO dealership network.
MEPs have called for the Committee to continue its efforts towards achieving the set objective, not only in the creation legal obstacles, but also technical and operational obstacles, so that tampering becomes impossible, or so difficult and expensive that it is no longer worth it. Tampering odometers is forbidden in 26 EU countries, but only 6 consider it a crime, which is a crucial error, in the Committee’s view. The Committee emphasises the fact that vehicles are increasingly connected and submit data such as odometer readings to the manufacturer’s servers. It wants to see the creation of a European blockchain network for odometers, as it believes that this technology is capable of securing data in a network and preventing manipulation of the data.
The AAA AUTO used car dealership network has been active on the market for 26 years. It includes over 40 branches in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary. It is a member of the AURES Holdings Group, which is owned by the British-Polish Abris Capital Partners Fund as the majority stakeholder. The company has served over 2 million customers since it was first established. In 2017, it sold 75,400 vehicles and is therefore one of the biggest used car dealers in Central and East Europe in terms of the number of vehicles sold. It also offers nearly new cars under the revived Mototechna brand. The company regularly features in the CZECH TOP 100 and the Czech 100 best charts. It also won the prestigious Superbrands award in 2017 and 2018 and came 2nd in the Europe-wide Business Awards 2016/2017 competition. The AAA AUTO and Mototechna brands are the official partners to the premier grouping in Czech football– the HET league.
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