Most clocked cars 2023: which models are more likely to have their odometer altered?

January 10, 2024

While the used car market has become more transparent throughout the years, odometer tampering is still prevalent worldwide. Buyers lose millions of euros to insincere sellers and it seems that the situation won’t change drastically any time soon. 

But which models are the most popular among fraudsters? To answer this question, we explored thousands of history reports to make a list of the top 20 most clocked vehicle models.

From economy class cars to premium vehicles – any car can have its odometer altered. However, some cars end up being clocked more than others. Let’s find out what happened in the clocking department in 2023.

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German vehicle brands suffer from mileage fraud the most

The Audi A8 was the most clocked car on carVertical in 2023 – 10.67% of all models checked on our platform had an altered mileage. These are significant numbers, suggesting that 1 out 10 A8s may have their original mileage forged.

The Volkswagen Phaeton (10.46%), Audi A7 (9.56%), Toyota Prius (9.4%), and Volkswagen CC (9.28%) are closely behind.

13 out of 20 most clocked vehicles belong to German manufacturers: Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Porsche, and Opel. German brands are known for their reliability, technological advancement, and premium features, making them an appealing option in the second-hand car market. 

Scammers in different countries have different preferences for models to clock. In France, the Porsche Panamera is the most clocked model (5.1%), in Czechia – the Porsche Cayenne (15.07%), in Poland – the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class (12.38%), in Romania – the Audi A8 (16.25%), and in Lithuania – the Lexus IS (16.21%).

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Among the 20 most clocked models in Slovakia, 7 are manufactured by Audi. This tendency is also noticeable in other countries. There’s a strong market demand for used high-end vehicles in good condition, explaining why Audis are so popular among fraudsters.

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Economy class vehicles are clocked less often

13 out of 20 cars in the top 20 list are considered premium class, meaning economy class vehicles are clocked less often. Tampering with the odometer readings of premium brands like Audi, Volvo, Porsche, Land Rover, or Mercedes-Benz allows wrongdoers to earn more money. They also don’t want to risk being caught by authorities for a profit of several hundred euros selling a clocked hatchback.

Clocked economy class vehicles are more common in Western and Southern Europe than in Eastern Europe. In the UK, the Kia Ceed is the most clocked vehicle, with a share of 9.43%. In Portugal, that’s Peugeot 206 – 6.38%, in Italy – Opel Zafira (10.49%). However, Spaniards are faithful to the Porsche Panamera, with a share of 13.1%.

Which cars are less risky to buy?

The Jeep Wrangler is the least clocked car on the list with the share of 6.32%, meaning it’s 1.5 times riskier to buy the Audi A8 than the Wrangler. The Mercedes-Benz SL-Class (6.35%), Volkswagen Touareg (6.38%), Audi A6 (6.49%), and Volvo S80 (6.87%) are also among the vehicles with the least mileage rollbacks.

The least risky cars in different countries vary. In Hungary, France, and Estonia, hatchbacks are clocked the least, in Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland – SUVs. However, every market is different, and the situation, even in neighboring countries, may differ significantly.

When looking for a used vehicle, nobody can be safe from fraudsters, therefore it’s important to check a car’s historical mileage and damage records. Performing a test drive and visiting a respectable dealership for an inspection also mitigates the chances of getting a vehicle in poor condition. Otherwise, you may risk losing money and compromise your safety.

Is buying a clocked car a bad thing?

So, you’ve checked a vehicle on carVertical and discovered that its mileage was altered – what should you do? Always inform the seller about mileage discrepancies you’ve found and allow them to explain the situation. Not every seller is necessarily a bad guy, even though they’re selling a clocked car.

Sometimes, the odometer may have been altered in the past and the current owner doesn’t have any idea about it! 

Clocked mileage means that the vehicle you’re interested in is worth less than its asking price, so you can try to negotiate a better price with the seller. However, keep in mind that it may be in a significantly worse condition than you expect.

Passing a technical inspection with a forged mileage may also cause trouble if you get caught. Some countries allow you to restore a car’s mileage to the original one. However, check out your local laws beforehand so that you don’t have any trouble when registering such a vehicle.

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Source: carVertical

Methodology

carVertical’s research examined actual car history reports acquired by our users from November 2022 to November 2023. The odometer values were aggregated in the platform and sorted by models with the most rollbacks for easier understanding. Processing millions of car history checks allows us to see trends, insights, and forecasts of used car markets.

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Article by

Karolis Bareckas

Karolis is an automotive writer focusing on the industry part of things. His goal is to educate readers and foster transparency in the used car market. With a passion for storytelling and extensive experience writing in a variety of fields, Karolis enjoys sharing his knowledge and spreading the word about automotive and tech topics. He’s also a a big fan of muscle cars and long road trips.

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