24 May 2022

ALERT: Offaly motorists unknowingly driving €4m worth of 'zombie cars'

ALERT: Offaly motorists unknowingly driving €4m worth of 'zombie cars'

ALERT: Offaly motorists unknowingly driving €4m worth of 'zombie cars'

Leading car history check company has completed the first major cross border analysis of salvaged and written off vehicles, otherwise known as 'zombie cars', imported into the Republic of Ireland from the UK.

The company found over 39,336 affected vehicles that had been imported into the Republic of Ireland. At today’s values, the market value of those affected is €3,867,503 in Offaly alone and €318 million across the rest of the country.  

Examples of zombie cars were found currently for sale privately and on dealers’ forecourts with ‘All Clear’ histories.

The research conducted by Motorcheck, as seen on Tuesday night's RTÉ Primetime, represents a potentially serious safety concern and financial liability. Motorists are warned about this issue and the risks associated with buying a used car in the Republic of Ireland.

Despite the introduction of new Brexit linked import charges, the number of vehicles imported from the UK to the Republic of Ireland remains high. In 2021 over 83,000 vehicles have been imported with a total of 457,000 coming across the water over the past four years.

In an effort to understand the prevalence of Zombie vehicles (those brought back to life but not correctly identified as insurance write-offs or ex-salvage) amongst those being imported, MotorCheck embarked on the largest single cross border analysis of vehicles ever carried out between the Republic of Ireland and the UK. 

During their research, Motorcheck cross referenced the VIN numbers for 1.9 million Irish vehicles with its UK Salvage database.

Shane Teskey, co-founder of MotorCheck said: “As of today, we know that almost 40,000 zombie cars have been imported into the Republic of Ireland – those brought back to life but not necessarily identified as insurance write offs or ex-salvage. This equates to €318M leaving traders or their owners to foot the bill when the car’s true history is discovered. With used car prices rising in Ireland as much as 50%, it’s more important than ever that car dealers and private buyers are made aware of a vehicles hidden history before they pay well over the fair market value for a potentially dangerous ex-write off”.

For a limited time, Irish motorists can check for free if their car is one of the identified vehicles by visiting and clicking the banner at the top of the site to check any registration.

MotorCheck has been operating its market-leading car history check to Irish buyers and car dealers for the past 14 years. In 2016 the brand launched a sister service in the UK where it obtained exclusive access to a salvage database containing details of more than 4.5 million vehicles that have been sold as Salvage or Insurance Write-Off’s there. Two investigations carried out by the BBC and Channel 4 demonstrated that tens of thousands of vehicles are written off annually in the UK, yet are unrecorded on the official insurance database, making MotorCheck the UK and Ireland’s premier provider for this hidden history.

Determined to work with the trade and private buyers to identify the offending vehicles, MotorCheck has integrated this unique UK salvage data into all its Irish car history checks. This means that MotorCheck is the only car history service in Ireland providing a comprehensive history check that highlights the issue of incorrectly documented write off’s and offers the necessary protection to Irish buyers and sellers alike.

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