Motor Industry News
Thousands of used car buyers are being urged to consider the possible effects of climate change before parting with cash for their next set of bargain wheels.
A problem, which has become widespread in the United States, is now beginning to appear in the UK as an increasing number of vehicles are appearing on the open market after suffering serious weather-related damage.
According to experts, reports of storm damage to British cars look set to hit a 6-year high. In the first three months of this year (2007), some insurance companies received around three times as many reports of storm damaged vehicles as the whole of the previous year.
Vehicle safety experts fear that this higher number of storm damaged cars will lead to a mirroring of the criminal activity in the US as unscrupulous individuals attempt to pass off badly repaired or damaged motor cars as OK.
"After Hurricane Katrina, flood damaged cars started appearing back on the US market at twice their usual rate," said Roger Powell, General Manager of mycarcheck.com.
"In the UK incidences, like the severe flooding that devastated the small village of Boscastle, might be few and far between, but if the scientists are right this kind of occurrence will become more common."
"While no one is suggesting that storm damage in the UK is on the same scale, motorists should be aware that the same unscrupulous practice of selling on damaged cars is rife in this country."
According to a report published by the American International Automobile Dealers Association, the number of flood damaged vehicles in the US rose by 103% in 2002/06, due in no small part to Hurricane Katrina, compared to the previous five-year period between 1997 and 2001.
In Mississippi, vehicles found to have water damage increased by 633% and in neighbouring Alabama the increase was 374%, leading to a number of unscrupulous sellers transporting patched-up cars from the storm-ravaged region as far as Virginia, Minnesota and Montana in a bid to dupe less vigilant customers and dealers.