The trade in scrap cars is flourishing: around 100.000 broken cars are sold per year, many exported to africa. However, the owner of the car may be liable to prosecution if he sells it to a business card dealer.
"car trader looking for trucks, cars or buses, any condition, expired picerl, offer everything. Call: 0664/31624xy", "auto export. If you would like to sell your vehicle now or at some point in the future (with or without the. Without pickerl, also with defects), please call me (24h reachable)" – this or something similar are the often incorrect texts of the business cards, which are put into older cars resp. Can be found in online ads.
A typical picture for old car owners: the business card in the window slit
K. Is one of the buyers. "I don’t care about the brand and the condition of the car, I take everything. I sell the cars to africa," he says on the phone. He does not want to say more. K. Operated via the internet. some people who put business cards in cars have real companies with big premises where the bought cars are parked and repaired.
From simmering to nigeria
one of these companies is in simmering. the owner is a man from nigeria who speaks impeccable german and is heavily employed. On the site there is a lot of activity. A man walks around with a set of about 20 keys, unlocking a car now and then and checking its condition under the hood. several men stand in a circle and discuss, come and go with the old cars. They are friends and employees of the owner.
the cars bought are peugeots, audis, vws, renaults and many more. The brand actually does not seem to matter. Many cars have dents or rough scratches, also broken tires can be seen. They all have one thing in common: they are very old vehicles – probably around twenty years old on average.
100.000 cars disappear per year
From the site in simmering the repaired cars are transported to hamburg, from there they are shipped to nigeria, ghana, benin, etc. Brought and resold there. "the cars are bought here for 50 euros in some cases and in nigeria for 2.500 euros resold," says walter kletzmayr, spokesman for austrian shredder operations.
APA/dpa/A3576 maurizio gambarini
transport from the port of hamburg to nigeria takes around two weeks
"in austria we have a dark figure, nobody hangs this on the big bell, but over 100.000 cars disappear per year. In principle, we can only assume that a large part of it will go to africa. We know that ships leave from the north of germany every week with several tens of thousands of cars from all over europe," says burkhard ernst, head of the vehicle trade at the vienna chamber of commerce.
Seller may be liable to prosecution
"in principle, there is nothing to be said against exporting used vehicles that still function and are roadworthy. But in austria there is a strict waste management law. That means that as soon as a car is an end-of-life vehicle and represents hazardous waste, it may not be exported to developing countries according to the Basel convention," says walter kletzmayr, spokesman for the austrian shredder operations.
The Basel Convention is an international environmental agreement that regulates the control of transboundary shipments of hazardous wastes.
Ernst gives a concrete example: "an old car has a current value of 1.000 euro. This then has gearbox damage and the repair costs 1.500 euro. This makes it a total economic loss. If you want to get rid of the car, it automatically becomes hazardous waste and has to be disposed of accordingly."
"it also hits the sellers with a debt. because he decides who to give the vehicle to – a shredder company or a business card buyer. the seller can make himself liable to prosecution, many people don’t know that," says ernst.
damage to austria’s economy
In austria, there are 130 licensed recyclers. From the 225.000 deregistered vehicles in the previous year, however, only 49.000 scrapped in austria. "this also results in a loss for the austrian economy, because the raw materials, metals, etc. are lost. go abroad and cannot be returned to the austrian cycle," says ernst.