Does One Crime Fit All?

HPI data reveals different vehicle types are susceptible to different crimes

Supercars and luxury vehicles should be a top concern for dealers when buying or part exchanging used cars, detailed analysis of the HPI database reveals.

Whilst family and city cars are least likely to have a hidden history, dealers should remain vigilant on all of their stock warns HPI, as closer inspection of its data reveals that even these cars are targets for criminals.

Dealers may not be surprised to see performance cars and hot hatches both hit the top five on the outstanding finance register. However, city cars are one to watch on the finance register, despite seeing a significant annual decrease in the number hitting this and other HPI registers and despite being in the top five least at risk overall.

Chelsea tractors, or 4x4s, also rank as one of the top five vehicle groups most frequently hitting the outstanding finance register. Out of every 100 vehicles checked with HPI overall, 24 are on outstanding finance. Any vehicle still on finance belongs to the finance house so dealers stand to lose the money and the car.

Luxury cars, which are the most likely car group to hit the stolen register, have seen the total volume of hits against the HPI registers increase steadily over the last four years. These cars are an obvious target for thieves, but dealers also need to be aware that compact executive and executive cars are two of the most likely groups to be stolen. As well as losing the vehicle, dealers stand to lose the money paid on stolen vehicles, not to mention the cost of lost reputation.

Performance cars and hot hatches are the top car group hitting HPI’s Condition Alert register and are therefore more likely to be recorded as a write off by the Association of British Insurers. These two groups have also seen an overall increase in hits against the HPI registers over the last four years, making it essential for dealers to do the necessary checks.

Not surprisingly the roadsters/cabriolets, coupes, luxury and super cars all most frequently hit the Condition Alert register. This register will identify not only vehicles that have been ‘written-off’ as a total loss by an insurer, but will tell dealers what category write-off they are, helping them understand just how roadworthy they are.

Personalised plates are becoming more and more popular each year, but HPI warns dealers that a plate change can also be used by criminals to hide a car’s true identity and murky past. Again, those vehicles that perhaps reflect a certain standing of status - luxury, super, performance, coupes, 4x4s - are most likely to have had a plate transfer.

Interestingly, whilst practical vehicles such as family cars, MPVs and executive cars are least likely overall to hit the HPI registers, they are most likely to have a discrepant mileage. HPI’s National Mileage Register (NMR) Check service draws on 85 million mileage readings to help identify discrepant odometer readings in used vehicles being offered for sale. Used correctly, the NMR Check and Investigation provides dealers with a legal defence and effective disclaimer against incorrect mileage readings, developed with input from Trading Standards.

Daniel Burgess, automotive director, commented: "The HPI database holds details of over 80 million vehicle identities, 7 million finance agreements, over 7 million ‘written-off’ vehicles and over 600,000 stolen vehicles, to help dealers make informed purchasing decisions and protect their bottom line.

"Close analysis of this data reveals that dealers must not be complacent when it comes to the middle of the range vehicles such as family cars. Unsurprisingly, luxury and performance cars are high risk, but the hit rates highlight the need for dealer awareness across the entire range of vehicles."

2 June 2006 Staff

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