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Call for national vehicle service history database to protect residual values

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Vehicle manufacturers, dealers and technology providers are being urged to collaborate to create a new national database of vehicle service histories.

The call, from the UK’s Vehicle Remarketing Association (VRA), comes amid concerns that residual values for thousands of cars are being reduced because their printed service histories are not available, even though vehicles may have been properly maintained.

Sam Watkins, chair of the VRA, said: “Service histories are seen by traders and buyers as proof that a car has been properly maintained and cared for, and yet at auction, around a quarter of vehicles are presented without a service history.”

Missing service histories can reduce the residual value of an asset by 5% or more, Watkins warned, adding: “The value lost is probably counted in terms of hundreds or low thousands of pounds but on high-value, specialist vehicles, it can potentially run in a five-figure sum.

“The only time that a service history starts to become less important is near to the end of a car or van’s life, when the condition starts to outweigh all other factors.”

Watkins said that initially getting franchise dealers to take part would be a major step forward and offered VRA resources to make progress with any initiative.

“Anyone from manufacturers to dealers to technology providers who believe they have a contribution to make to this debate would be very much welcomed,” she said.

The Vehicle Remarketing Association represents organisations involved in the handling, sale, inspection, transportation, and management of more than 1.5 million used vehicles on an annual basis.