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Greece has become... Germany in terms of car exports

07 July 2013 / 19:07:35  GRReporter
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Car export scams are being organised on the Greek market, as shown by an investigation conducted by Imerisia. Cars are deregistered from the Transport Department’s records and then sold on the illicit market or driven with illegal documents. This was announced by the Automotive Recyclers Association at the end of 2012, but nobody from the Ministry of Transport has taken action so far, at least in order to limit this kind of scam. A letter from the Association to the Ministry reads that "In the last 2 years, we have seen a huge increase in the number of car deregistration requests for export purposes, as evidenced by the annual data of the Ministry of Transport." Unfortunately, according to information of companies from the Association’s network and employees of regional transport departments, a large number of these cars are not exported. Many of them, after being deregistered and sold on illegal markets. From there, and after being disassembled into parts, they go on the black market of second hand parts."

The consequences of this "export" are numerous, since these cars are disassembled in illegal places and cause environmental pollution. They are sold in parts, without paying taxes, and, in parallel, the state is provided with false information from Eurostat concerning the export of cars and the number of recycled vehicles. In these cases, owners that have "exported" these cars want recycling centres to pay them for the recycled car.

The Association’s information also suggests that vehicles that have been "exported" and deregistered are put into circulation again with fake licence plates and documents. In parallel, in some cases "exported" vehicles replace crashed cars of the same model the repair of which is not profitable, by simply changing their plates and, in more difficult circumstances, by using a laser in order to rewrite the chassis number.

Because of the complete amortisation of vehicles, mainly with engines of 1,800 cubic cm and above, the price and mainly because of the "luxury" tax, many car owners are forced to sell them on foreign markets in order to get at least a few thousand euros, since they have no commercial interest in selling them in Greece. These cars’ mass "departure" has resulted in a sudden increase in the number of small, cheap cars, which, however, are disappearing from the Greek market.

Board member of the Union of retailers and importers of cars in Greece Euripidis Konstantinidis said that the internal market of used cars has virtually dried up, since banks and other credit institutions are gradually moving away from cars. The only solution for this market’s problem is the reduction of categorisation fees for imported cars that meet the Euro 4 emission requirements, so that cheap and reliable cars could be imported in Greece at reasonable prices. Along with that, if achieved, this will stop the closure of companies in the sector and new jobs will be created, Konstantinidis added.

An example, which is indicative of the hopelessness that owners of large-displacement cars are experiencing, is the fact that a BMW X5 was brought to a car recycling centre because its owner wanted to get rid of it. The recycling centre’s owner bought the vehicle for 500 euro. The car has not been disassembled - the owner of the recycling centre kept it, but now he has to pay the "luxury" tax which is being imposed on a car worth ... 500 euro!

The economic crisis has forced many traders and car owners, especially with engines from 2 litres and above, to export their vehicles to other EU Member States or the Middle East and Africa, so that they can sell them at even lower prices. Nevertheless, no one had expected that Greece would become a source of used cars export and mark a record increase of 209.2% in 2012 compared to 2011. According to official data of the Ministry of Transport, in 2012, Greece exported 41,208 vehicles compared to 13,327 in 2011. It is impossible to prove just how many of them were actually exported, since there is no control over exports to other EU Member States.

Tags: used cars recycling fake export
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