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2012-12-27 08:53

VW POLO: This is the most recent one but it and its forebears show up top in German roadworthy tests.

BERLIN, Germany - Cash-strapped Germans are spending less on vehicle maintenance, according to TUV inspection data.

Standards have apparently dropped back to those of the 1980's given the number of faults found in cars during the compulsory first maintenance test at three years old and every two years thereafter.

Back in 2011 only one in six failed the test and required workshop repairs. During 2012 that number increased to one in five.

OLDER CARS IN PERIL

Experts pointed to the increasing average age of cars on German roads. In 2003 they were trashed (on average) after about 7.5 years; it is now 8.5, indicating that people are keeping cars longer but with more defects surfacing.

Among vehicles less than three years old, 6.1% failed their first test, by 11 years old the failure rate was 25% and older cars were more likely to be involved in a collision.

The data was gleaned from the examination of more than eight million cars of all brands though, the report pointed out, "German cars displayed fewer than average faults, with the VW Polo emerging as one of the least troublesome cars at test stations".

Faulty lighting was a common cause of failure - just more than 8% up to three years old - but rising to 33% on older vehicles.

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