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Willesden Junction's Cargiant launches investigation after it is found selling cars with outstanding safety recalls

PUBLISHED: 15:16 23 May 2019 | UPDATED: 19:12 23 May 2019

Cargiant sits on industrial land just south of Willesden Junction station. Picture: Google StreetView

Cargiant sits on industrial land just south of Willesden Junction station. Picture: Google StreetView

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Willesden Junction's major used car dealership Cargiant has launched an investigation and withdrawn cars from sale after it was found advertising and selling vehicles that were subject to outstanding safety recalls, the Kilburn Times can reveal.

This newspaper alerted Cargiant, in Hythe Road, to dozens of cars identified by their number plates at cargiant.co.uk that were due for recall to their manufacturers for repairs.

Cargiant director Michael Holahan told us: "We are currently investigating and have temporarily removed some vehicles from sale."

His statement came after we counted 37 cars due for recall on the Cargiant website earlier this week, two of which had already been sold on Sunday.

The cars were from five manufacturers - Vauxhall, Volkswagen, BMW, Jaguar and Toyota - and included 11 models. They were on sale for an approximate £450,000 combined.

The models involved - Vauxhall Astra, Volkswagen Polo, Jaguar XF, Toyota Auris and BMW X1, X3, X4, X5, 3, 4 and 5 Series - have been recalled in recent years for faults or potential faults with brakes, engines, exhausts, seatbelts and carbon dioxide emissions.

As of Tuesday - three days after the paper informed the dealer of its findings - 24 of the cars were still advertised on its website. Another even sold on Monday.

The fact the cars were categorised as due for recall does not mean they were dangerous, but they all had outstanding issues according to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) database.

DVSA chief exec Gareth Llewellyn said: "It's an offence for a motor dealer to sell a car with an outstanding vehicle safety recall. They need to get it fixed before a car is sold.

"Our priority is to protect people from unsafe drivers and vehicles."

Regulation eight of the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 states traders have an "obligation to take reasonable steps to ensure products they place on sale are not dangerous".

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A spokesperson from the Chartered Trading Standards Institute's lead officers and policy team told the Times this week: "It would be good practice for responsible dealers to check for outstanding recalls before advertising a vehicle for sale, and act on any recalls that are brought to their attention.

"The legality of advertising and supplying of such vehicles will be dependent on whether they can be considered both roadworthy and safe prior to the relevant modification."

The Institute - a membership organisation for trading standards professionals - added that the examples provided by this newspaper "may indicate such an offence, but it will ultimately depend on the characteristics of the actual cars and the recalls in question".

As Cargiant sits on a large industrial plot just south of the Brent border, the responsible Trading Standards department is Hammersmith and Fulham. A spokesperson this week said the council was investigating.

Cargiant claims to be the "world's largest car dealership", its cars "100 per cent up-to-date" and its business "multi-award-winning".

It is unclear how long the dealer - formed in 1976 - has been selling cars that are subject to recalls.

Two weeks ago, Frances Hubbard was about to buy a Vauxhall Astra from Cargiant before realising it was due for recall.

She said: "I could have driven a hundred miles home in a car with faulty brakes.

"Unless you're really savvy you wouldn't know you have a problem until you drive home and then it becomes your problem rather than theirs.

"It's very bad practice."

A study by AutoVHC showed UK dealers addressed only 53 per cent of serious faults in vehicles last year before re-selling them to customers.

Cargiant has up to 8,000 cars on its 48-acre site and employs more than 800 people.

People can check whether a car is due for recall at check-mot.service.gov.uk.

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