August 22, 2014 // 11:01 am

Some time ago I was asked to investigate the background to an Audi TT that had been written off in the Channel Islands, what I found proved that written-off vehicles can be easily moved around the world.

Following an accident, an Audi TT was being inspected by the insurance company, the insurance engineer wasn’t happy about the vehicle and asked me to complete some further investigations.
The vehicle concerned had a Jersey registration and was Left Hand Drive – not unusual in the Channel Islands given their close proximity to mainland Europe, but the main difference to the majority of LHD vehicles was the speedo and distance recorders where in miles, not kilometres.

The registration paperwork confirmed that the vehicle had come into Jersey from Poland, but this didn’t explain the speedo reading miles per hour, so a little more detective work was required.
Audi UK were able to confirm that the vehicle was produced for the North American marketplace, and some extra work on the NMVTIS (National Motor Vehicle Title Information System) database in the US gave us the information required, the vehicle had been registered in New Jersey and written off after an insurance claim.

None of this was recorded on any of the documents provided to the authorities in the Channel Islands when they registered the vehicle, the owner of the vehicle had no knowledge of the previous history and wasn’t aware that the vehicle had been previously written-off.

So what does this tell us? That written-off vehicles can move across borders with impunity and lose their ‘written-off’ status; that potentially dangerous vehicles could be sold with no checks on roadworthiness or safety; that the vehicle could have been stolen and cloned to a different identity; that the auto recycling and motor salvage industry needs to do more to track written-off vehicles across the world, making certain that potential owners are aware of the previous history of the vehicle, and setting standards for roadworthiness of any repaired vehicles.

The correct forum for this will be the International Round Table on Auto Recycling (IRT) that is being held in Japan in October, for more details refer to http://irt-autorecycling.org/next-irt-kushiro-hokkaido-japan

If you have a vehicle that you would like investigating, please contact Salvage Wire through the web site or at admin@salvagewire.com