Does one crime fit all?

Article date: 1 June 2006

  • HPI data reveals different vehicle types are susceptible todifferent crimes

Supercars and luxury vehicles should be a top concern fordealers when buying or part exchanging used cars, detailed analysisof the HPI database reveals.

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

Dealers may not be surprised to see performance cars and hothatches 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 hittingthis and other HPI registers and despite being in the top fiveleast at risk overall.

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

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

Performance cars and hot hatches are the top car group hittingHPI’s Condition Alert register and are therefore more likelyto be recorded as a write off by the Association of BritishInsurers. These two groups have also seen an overall increase inhits against the HPI registers over the last four years, making itessential for dealers to do the necessary checks.

Not surprisingly the roadsters/cabriolets, coupes, luxury and supercars all most frequently hit the Condition Alert register. Thisregister will identify not only vehicles that have been"written-off" as a total loss by an insurer, but will tell dealerswhat category write-off they are, helping them understand just howroadworthy they are.

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

Interestingly, whilst practical vehicles such as family cars, MPVsand executive cars are least likely overall to hit the HPIregisters, they are most likely to have a discrepant mileage.HPI’s National Mileage Register (NMR) Check service draws on85 million mileage readings to help identify discrepant odometerreadings in used vehicles being offered for sale. Used correctly,the NMR Check and Investigation provides dealers with a legaldefence and effective disclaimer against incorrect mileagereadings, developed with input from Trading Standards.

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

“Close analysis of this data reveals that dealers must not becomplacent when it comes to the middle of the range vehicles suchas family cars. Unsurprisingly, luxury and performance cars arehigh risk, but the hit rates highlight the need for dealerawareness across the entire range ofvehicles.”

Vehicle groups most at risk from a hidden history -overall:

  • Super cars
  • Luxury cars
  • Performance cars/hot hatches
  • 4x4s
  • Coupes

Vehicle groups least at risk from a hidden history– overall:

  • Family cars
  • City cars
  • MPVs
  • Estate cars
  • Executive cars

Vehicle Groups that most frequently hit a HPIRegister

Finance Register:

1. Super cars

2. Performance cars/hot hatches

3. MPVs

4. 4X4s

5. City cars

Stolen Register:

1. Luxury cars

2. Super cars

3. Compact executives

4. Executive cars

5. Coupes

Write Offs:

1. Performance cars/hot hatches

2. Luxury cars

3. Super cars

4. Roadsters/cabriolets

5. Coupes

Plate Transfer:

1. Super cars

2. Luxury cars

3. Performance cars/hot hatches

4. Coupes

5. 4x4s

Mileage Discrepancy:

1. Family cars

2. Coupe

3. Executive cars

4. Compact executives

5. MPVs


For press enquiries please contact:

RAC/HPI Press office contact:

Jenny Chapman - 01603 684224/07800 699668 
Lucy Haughey - 01603 354337/07800 690149

Harrison Sadler:
Claire Foster, Parm Evansor Justine Hoadley on 020 8977 9132 or email

Notes to editors:

About HPI
Originally established in1938, HPI Limited is a primary source of vehicle information forthe UK motor industry and motoring consumer, which since August2004 has been owned by Norwich Union. HPI encompasses both the HPIdatabase of all UK road registered vehicle descriptions andhistories, and the National Mileage Register which holds in excessof 85 million mileage readings.

Together, HPI and NMR represent the UK's largest vehicleinformation source, combining and interpreting data from governmentagencies, industry bodies, private organisations, the police andthe general public. Registering with HPI helps companies to protecttheir financial interests in motor vehicles and a wide range ofother mobile assets. HPI Checks give purchasers instantconfirmation of whether vehicles are correctly described, known tobe subject to outstanding finance or serious accident damage, orrecorded as stolen or "clocked".

'HPI' and the HPI logo are registered trademarks of HPILimited.
(1) All prices include VAT and are correct as of 1st January2006
(2) Mileage Data is not covered by The HPI Guarantee
(3) The HPI Guarantee is subject to terms and conditions

About RAC
With around seven million members, RAC is oneof the UK's most progressive motoring organizations, providingservices for both private and business motorists. Whether it'sroadside assistance, windscreen repair and replacement, learning todrive, vehicle inspections and checks, legal and financial servicesor up-to-the-minute traffic and travel information - RAC is able tomeet motorists’ needs. RAC incorporates BSM, RAC AutoWindscreens, RAC Direct Insurance and HPI.

Aviva bought RAC in May 2005. The acquisition brings together RAC'spowerful brand and customer base with the expertise and leadingposition in motor insurance of Norwich Union Insurance (part ofAviva). Norwich Union is the UK's largest insurer, insuring one inseven motor vehicles and with a market share of around 14%.

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