Research by Royal Mail shows that 69% of all business letters have one or more address errors and the UK postal service is advising car companies, dealers and manufacturers to ensure their customer records are correct and up to date.

Royal Mail says 172 million items of mail were sent to businesses that had moved or ceased to trade, costing UK businesses in excess of £163 million in 2002.

Royal Mail says 5.7 million business details change each year  and, in response, it has launched a new database aimed at the motor industry that tracks, monitors and updates change to businesses each month.

This will enable businesses such as car dealers to keep track of present customers, and to identify new leads among businesses that have just started or have just moved.

The database includes exclusive access to the Royal Mail business movers list, to listings for businesses that are no longer trading and details of new business starts.