14 May 19

Car-Pass obligatory for used vehicles imported into Belgium

Over the last decade, Car-Pass has virtually eliminated mileage fraud in Belgium. But there's a fairly big loophole: imports are becoming more popular, and they're not covered by the system – not until 2020, that is. 

Car-Pass is a database that collects mileage data throughout a car's first life; it is also a document that is legally required when reselling that car. This allows the buyer to double-check whether the car's odometer has been tampered with. 

Increased risk

Of course, the system does not work for foreign cars, which are not subject to the same requirements from Car-Pass as Belgian cars. With predictable consequences. “The increase in used-vehicle imports goes hand in hand with an increased risk in mileage fraud,” confirms Michel Peelman, managing director of Car-Pass. 

But that loophole is closing, Mr Peelman points out: “From 1 January 2020, manufacturers and importers will be legally required to report the mileage of the vehicles they import into Belgium to Car-Pass. In the absence of EU-wide regulations to prevent mileage fraud, this Belgian measure can't come soon enough.”

Mr Peelman's comments came as Car-Pass released its annual report for 2018. An overview of the most striking results:

Downward deviation

  • Last year, no more than 1,648 cases of mileage fraud were registered in Belgium. The average downward deviation was 64,326 km. The total: just over 106 million km.
  • Things have deteriorated a little since a few years ago: in 2014, there were 1,239 cases of mileage fraud; a quarter less than in 2018. In 2014, the odometer turned back an average of 67,300 km, which leads to a total of just under 83.4 million km.
  • But things have also improved immensely since before the introduction of Car-Pass: just over a decade ago, the number of used cars sold annually with the odometer tampered with ranged somewhere between 60,000 and 100,000.
  • The most egregious case of mileage fraud in 2018 in Belgium was an Iveco Daily from 2011: the LCV had its odometer turned back from 572,670 km to 65,173 km, a difference of 507,497 km (more than 12 times the circumference of the earth).

Fraud volume

  • In 2018, 38% of mileage fraud cases detected in Belgium were caused by vehicles imported from the Netherlands. Thanks to cooperation between Car-Pass and RDW, the competent authority in the Netherlands, the volume of mileage fraud coming from the Netherlands has been reduced by 58% over two years.
  • Last year, Car-Pass gathered 16.1 million individual mileage data entries from 11,848 companies in the automotive industry – an average of 2.5 entries per registered vehicle.
  • The vehicle with the highest mileage in Belgium last year was a VW Sharad from 2012, with 999,981 km on the meter.
  • Last year, a young diesel (less than 2 years old) had an average annual mileage of 26,657 km. For petrol cars of the same age, that figure is 14,219 km – just over half of the diesel average. Both figures diminish and converge as the cars' ages advance.

Inadequate solution

  • In 2018, no less than 819,345 Car-Pass certificates were delivered. Almost 1 in 10 Car-Pass certificates relates to an imported used vehicle. That figure has grown by 50% over the past three years.
  • Most (51%) of the imported used vehicles are petrol. This is in stark contrast to overall used-car sales in Belgium, which still strongly (63%) favour diesel.

The Belgian experience clearly shows two things: that a clever, easy and performant system like Car-Pass can comprehensively defeat mileage fraud; and that in the increasingly international context of vehicle remarketing, a purely national system is an inadequate solution. To paraphrase Mr Peelman: EU-wide regulations to prevent mileage fraud can't come soon enough!


Authored by: Frank Jacobs