The motor industry could be heading towards a “clocking crisis” at the hand of customers as PCP becomes the prevalent product for new car finance, vehicle data provider Cazana has warned.

The company cited figures from the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) showing that one in 16 cars on British roads has clocked mileage – a number that has increased 25% between 2014 and 2016.

Cazana forecast this trend to continue. However, while clocking was a practice traditionally associated with fraudulent sell-side actors, the company predicted that in a PCP-dominated market, the problem would mostly arise from customers, as they artificially lower the mileage shown on their cars in order not to exceed contractual limits.

Rupert Pontin, head of valuations at Cazana, said: “Throughout the past ten years, there have been calls for the trade to clean up its act when it comes to clocking, and these words have been heeded.

“However, what we are starting to see is more consumers deliberately clocking their cars to ensure they do not go over the terms of their PCP agreements. As finance becomes the most common option for vehicle purchasing, we are seeing an increase in clocked vehicles returning to the used car market.”

The company consequently called for stricter fines and laws against clocking by customers, which it said are subject to lower deterrence than dealers and sellers.