Water-logged cars need to be monitored to prevent sale

Bruce Chu, TAIPEI, Taiwan, The China Post

Many cars were water-logged when Typhoon Aere lashed northern Taiwan recently, and the Consumer Product Commission Council (CPCC) is calling for strict monitoring of these vehicles, which may be sold by second-hand car dealers to unsuspecting customers. In Taiwan, where flooding occurs whenever a strong typhoon visits, it is common for car dealers to sell vehicles that have been drenched to consumers without the latter’s knowledge.

After Typhoon Mindulle hit Taiwan in early July causing widespread flooding on the island, the CPCC called on the Ministry of Economic Affairs to establish strict rules governing the sale of soaked motor vehicles. The ministry has taken no action so far, the CPCC said, urging that a crackdown be implemented at once. Typhoon Aere, which swept Taiwan on Tuesday and Wednesday, triggered torrential rains in northern Taiwan. Many parts of the Greater Taipei area, including Sanchung, Luchou and Hsinchuang were flooded. It is estimated that about 20,000 cars were soaked in floodwater.

When Mindulle hit Taiwan in early July, as many as 50,000 cars were inundated, according to motor industry sources. So approximately 70,000 cars with their engines or other components water-logged and soiled will be on the market in the next few months, sources say. In the wake of Typhoon Aere, the car towing business has found a chance to make a fortune. The storm has left many cars stalled or badly damaged. Some towing companies have jacked up their prices several times their usual rate. The CPCC yesterday suggested that the authorities standardize the prices car towers should charge in order to protect consumers’ rights.

Experts advise that car owners whose cars have stalled should try to get free towing service by contacting the car’s manufacturers.

Cars that have been damaged beyond repair should be abandoned, experts suggest, adding that if a car has to be towed, the owner should indicate clearly to the tower where the destination is and ask if there is an “extra charge.”