Opinion: We’re in uncharted territory mistakes will be made but the MOT extension is a big one

GW columnist Andy Parsons has his fingers crossed for a return to normality

Opinion: We’re in uncharted territory mistakes will be made but the MOT extension is a big one
Image: Bigstock.

Well these are interesting days that none of us have ever experienced the like of.

Andy Parsons of Shortfield garage in Surrey.

As we entered March this year, it was already clear that we were in for tough times.

We started to put in place procedures to carry on, assuring our customers (many of whom are key workers) that the Government had said that Garages could remain open and that we would be here for them, only to be hit at the end of March with the announcement from the government of a six month extension to the MOT expiry date, which effectively, combined with lockdown switched off our income stream overnight.

With car showrooms already prohibited from opening we had no revenue and after one week of battling through we made the instant decision to furlough all staff and close.

Related: Six-month MOT extension to remain until tests can be “conducted safely”

I do not want to beat up the current government.

Regardless of your political persuasion, we are in uncharted territory and there will be mistakes made as well as reasons for doing certain things that may not be divulged to the great unwashed.

Imagine if they acted on a knee jerk reaction, closed the country down in February and then nothing transpired.

Would they be hailed as hero’s for potentially saving lives or berated for costing businesses money by closing prematurely.

Related: Driver attitudes towards six-month MOT exemption revealed in new survey

However, who the hell thought that a hasty MOT extension was a well thought out plan?

The initial message that came out was all MOT’s were now put forward six months from that point, the 30th March 2020.

It then became clearer that they were to be extended six months, on a weekly basis with the option to stop it at any point.

“Many people cancelled MOT’s”

Suddenly, probably somewhat in panic, people started to hibernate and many people cancelled MOT’s whilst others stopped responding to reminders.

The first week of April was tough with MOT’s and servicing being cancelled.

Another problem from a business point of view is the potential time bomb of excessive demand being stored up, with potentially twice as many MOT’s being due in September, October and maybe November and December, followed up by a blackhole next March April and May as there were obviously few MOT’s this year.

This means that we will almost certainly lose business at both points in the year.

The IGA recently called for a united stand to end MOT discounting.

I think most independents agree this would be a good thing but it’s going to be a battle when more than 22,000 MOT stations compete for possibly 500 thousand instead of 2.5 million MOT’s per month next year.

“It’s time that the DVSA stopped devaluing the test”

I think it’s time that the DVSA stopped devaluing the test and made the fee obligatory.

And of course, possibly the worst consequence of this delay is the number of unroadworthy vehicles that may be on the road.

If I were to make an educated guess, many of the people who put off their MOT for the full six months are going to be those cars that are in most need of attention.

The average failure rate is 31 per cent which means 775 thousand cars that would fail per month will be potentially on the roads.

Related: 1.1M unroadworthy cars predicted to return to roads as result of six-month MOT exemption

How will insurances companies view it if a car with bald tyres is involved in an accident, are owners aware of the fines they could face, who takes the blame if a company vehicle is stopped by the police and it has a serious fault and what happens if someone is seriously injured or worse after an accident involving an unroadworthy car?

I am genuinely concerned about the ramifications of this.

The IGA is lobbying hard and has written to the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, urging him to end the six-month MOT extension.

Let’s hope that the government takes on board all of our concerns.

A return to normality?

We’ve now reopened and initially we’ve had a great response from our customers.

MOT’s are fully booked for the next two weeks and other work is steadily returning.

There are additional costs involved, PPE for staff, cleaning and antibacterial products for cars and new additional processes to keep staff and customers safe.

Plus the fact, many suppliers are still closed leading to difficulty obtaining parts.

We have already been hit financially, six weeks closed has had a toll and car sales still closed until further advice from the government, has made a huge dent in our resources.

We will never get that opportunity back, as what we sell essentially is time and that time is gone for good.

We normally are running at pretty much full capacity so even if there is pent up demand, we may not be able to do any more than we would have done normally.

Let’s hope that the current situation continues to improve and we see a swift return to normality, even if it is with gloves on and distances kept.

Stay safe, keep calm and carry on.

Share your comments below.

Garage Wire Podcast

Garage Wire · #1 IGA’s Stuart James on ending six-month MOT exemption and GW columnist Barry Parker

Home Page Forums Opinion: We’re in uncharted territory mistakes will be made and the MOT extension is a big one

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
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  • #195939 Reply

    Well these are interesting days that none of us have ever experienced the like of. Andy Parsons of Shortfield garage in Surrey. As we entered March th
    [See the full post at: Opinion: We’re in uncharted territory mistakes will be made and the MOT extension is a big one]

    #197077 Reply

    This is a very bitter pill to swallow.
    Can and encouraged to service and fix key workers cars.
    Can go to Macdonalds and buy a takeaway.
    Can go to Primark and buy some trousers and shoes.
    Can go to the beach, can go to the parks.
    Zoos are open for me to see the animals.
    Gyms and restaurants are planned to open next month.
    All this but for years its been deemed for a car to be safe on the roads it needs a yearly inspection after 3 years old.
    What is going on that then Deems Mots (that keep cars safe) are too dangerous for inspectors and public?

    #197078 Reply

    There was a need for this when it started but that need has passed.
    It should be immediately changed to a 1 month extension.
    This is creating a bulge in demand in the autumn by which time there will be less testers in employment.

    #197080 Reply
    Barry Chandler

    We were in the same position and had to close for seven weeks after the phones just stopped ringing, unless it was to cancel a pre-booked test! Likewise, we’re open again but I have already heard of several test stations that won’t ever be re-opening. All the issues involved in being a test station, making you jump all through the hoops, make substantial investments in training and equipment and then they go and take away your income from testing. Some have finally had enough and have sold up to developers.

    #197084 Reply

    Government has long wanted to meddle with the vehicle testing regime in this country, but every attempt previously has been thwarted by wide-spread and well-reasoned opposition. Covid-19 however provided the ideal pretext to meddle and to do so without the need for any of that irksome consultation.

    When Andy says that the test is “to be extended six months, on a weekly basis with the option to stop it at any point”, he is completely missing the central point of the government announcement made on 25 March, which can be seen at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/vehicle-owners-to-be-granted-mot-exemption-in-battle-against-coronavirus. On that page can be seen the following: “Legislation will be introduced on 30 March 2020 and will come into immediate effect for 12 months”.

    Once this is taken into account, a large chunk of Andy’s analysis is, unfortunately, mistaken.

    #197111 Reply
    Joe digney

    Don’t think they th it through very well what about the cars no three years old with the extension they may no have b checked for three y did a first mot today with over 90k o the clock not been serviced si 30k and fai miserably on brakes and a br spring imagine how it wo be in ano six months without a check

    #197285 Reply
    Phil Dunmore

    An unfortunate fact being ignored in many of the statistics being bandied around about mot extensions is the type of vehicle owners that will take advantage of the full six months.
    The will be people with a poor regard for maintenance. A significant portion will be influenced by supposed financial savings. Therefore likelihood of vehicle being in poor condition in first place is high.
    I can see some being so bad come test time they will be scrapped, creating a further shortage of used cars.

    #197555 Reply
    Joe brolin

    I havent noticed any drop in trade being in servicing aswell i am nearly as busy as ever without mots with people having time to have their vehicle serviced and repaired. Just because the mots are issuing extensions the blame isnt on the government. The condition of the vehicle soley falls on the owner. Just because their mot has been extended doesnt mean that they shouldnt have their vehicle fully checked a point i have made to many customers. The condition of a vehicle isnt the governments responsiblity its soley the registered keeper

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)


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