Tue | Apr 24, 2018

Solution found to mix-up in cars model year - Hylton

Published:Sunday | May 12, 2013 | 12:00 AM

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Anthony Hylton, said he would be addressing the issue and provide a solution to prevent some used-car dealers from passing off vehicles to consumers with the wrong model year, without the purchasers themselves knowing.

Hylton said he would be speaking to the issue, which has been plaguing the used-car industry for many years, when he makes his contribution to the Sectoral Debate in Parliament on Tuesday.

Sunday Business raised the issue with the minister while on a media tour of the new Best Dressed Further Processing Facility of the Jamaica Broilers Group in Spring Village, St Catherine, last Wednesday.

"Yes, yes, we have come up with a solution, but I can't talk about it now, that is what my speech will be about on Tuesday," Hylton said, indicating that he would disclose that solution to The Gleaner, but only just before Parliament starts its sitting that day.

President of the Jamaica Used Car Dealers Association (JUDCA), Lynvalle Hamilton, declined comment on the issue, but said he was waiting to hear what the minister has to say on Tuesday.

Hamilton said the JUDCA has had several meetings with Hylton on the matter, and "if it was something that was clear- cut the Government would have taken a decision long time ago".

In the meantime, highly placed industry sources told Sunday Business that restrictions have been placed on car imports from countries where the cars in question are sourced.

The root of the problem is the 10th digit in the vehicle identification number that is unique to each car manufactured.

Normally, that number indicates the year of manufacture, but in affected vehicles a zero is placed as the 10th digit, indicating that the year of manufacture is not known.

Normally, the year of manufacture is not checked when owners go to license their vehicles, pay insurance and undertake other transactions relating to the cars because those officials only rely on documents for the vehicles. Checks are made only when an alarm is raised such as, for example, when owners buy motor vehicle parts which do not match the vehicle they own.

Some popular models affected are the Toyota Corolla Altis, Nissan Sunny, Nissan Cicero, Toyota Vios, Toyota Camry, Mazda 6 and the Nissan Bluebird.

FROM A 2007 TO A 2004 MODEL

One victim outlined some time ago how he bought what was expected to be a 2007 Toyota Corolla Altis, but later discovered that it was 2004 model.

At the time of the purchase, the customer said he got a valuation report which identified the car to be of model year 2007, but a valuation report four months later showed that the car was three years older than he thought.

This would mean that the victim would have paid more for the car than it was worth, and also using the higher value valuation report would be paying a higher insurance premium.

Used-car dealers affected have been advising affected customers to seek legal advice as a possible avenue for redress.

In 2011, Kirk Crichton, managing director of Crichton Automotives, while dealing with the issue, said any agreement to provide compensation to victims would signal admission by the dealer that they have done something wrong, which he said was not the case.

The problem has become more widespread in recent times and more persons are turning up at banks, insurance companies and car dealers claiming to be victims.