Nearly 40,000 written-off ‘zombie’ cars imported into Ireland from the UK

Nearly 40,000 “zombie” cars have been imported into Ireland from the UK, according to a cross-border analysis of ex-salvage cars and undocumented write-offs.

car history checking service found 39,336 affected vehicles had been imported into the country.

Zombie vehicles are described as those brought back to life but not correctly identified as insurance write-offs or ex-salvage.

At today’s cost, the total market value of those affected is over €318 million, MotorCheck.ie said. Examples of zombie cars were found currently for sale privately and on dealers’ forecourts with ‘all clear’ histories.

The co-founder of MotorCheck said it is crucial that buyers are made aware of a vehicle’s history before purchasing.

Shane Teskey 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 50pc, it’s more important than ever that car dealers and private buyers are made aware of a vehicle’s hidden history before they pay well over the fair market value for a potentially dangerous ex-write off”.

The research, which features on Tuesday’s RTÉ Prime Time, represents a potentially serious safety concern and financial liability.

The car history check company warned motorists about the issue and the risks associated with buying a used car.

Despite the introduction of new Brexit linked import charges, the number of vehicles imported from the UK to Ireland remains high.

In 2021 over 83,000 vehicles were imported, with a total of 457,000 coming across the water over the past four years. The company cross-referenced the VIN numbers for 1.9 million Irish vehicles with its UK salvage database.

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