It isn’t news to say that the tyre and autocentre sector is becoming an increasingly technological business. However, two recent trends confirm the need for garages to be properly equipped – increasing electric vehicle take-up and, in the short term, booming MOT demand.
This article, including a chart to support the analysis, appears in full in the November edition of Tyres & Accessories magazine. Not yet a subscriber? You can change that here.
With the clocks going back soon, it’s time for workshops to think of the products that will sell most at this time. Wiper blades are one such candidate. Following the long, bright summer, UV rays from the sun could have damaged blade rubber, so these need to be checked to ensure they’re in optimum condition. Indeed, a poll commissioned by Halfords found that 6.5 million cars are being driven by motorists with faulty wiper blades.
We have all read dire warnings in the press and online about the possible implications of the six-month extension to MOTs and of possible bottlenecks and logjams as everybody leaves it to the last minute to get their vehicles tested. As lockdown measures ease, the demand for routine servicing, repairs and MOTs is already dramatically increasing. Yuasa are encouraging garages to introduce a simple battery check as part of their MOT and service schedules to identify if the vehicle’s battery has been damaged due to reduced usage. At the height of the Coronavirus pandemic, it is estimated that around 70 per cent of the UK’s cars remained immobile.
The majority of car owners have taken advantage of the six-month extension announced by the government in March to delay getting an MOT, according to a YouGov poll commissioned by The Motor Ombudsman. The study of 765 individuals in Great Britain, who have a car of three or more years of age, and that had an existing MOT certificate expiring between 30 March and 31 July 2020, revealed that 56 per cent had exercised their right to prolong taking their vehicle to a garage for the compulsory annual test.
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is encouraging motorists to get their delayed MOT test done this summer ahead of a surge in demand in the Autumn. The projections, based on due dates and vehicle MOT expiry dates, show that demand for MOTs will be at around 3.4 million in September, 4.8 million in October and November and 4.2 million in December. This demand is predicted to be around double the normal volumes (approx. 2.5 million per month). However, August demand is predicted to be just over 2 million MOTs, which is fewer than usual.
A leading motoring solicitor has urged motorists not to forget to MOT their vehicles this month as the lockdown-related extension period ends on 1 August 2020. When the COVID-19 lockdown was introduced the government announced it was waiving the requirement for MOT tests for six months, extending the MOT certificates of cars due to be tested between 30 March 2020 and 29 March 2021, making them valid for 18 months rather than 12.
The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) welcomed the end of the MOT extension period on 1 August. The federation argues that the move will not only significantly increase road safety but will give a much-needed boost to the automotive sector overall.
Steve Nash, CEO of The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) has welcomed the return of mandatory MOT testing from 1 August. “The exemption from mandatory MOT testing announced at the end of March made sense at that time. But our sector moved very quickly to ensure it could work safely and support motorists during the lockdown,” he said.
The government’s decision to end the six-month MOT extension on 1 August has been welcomed by the Independent Garage Association and the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA). Stuart James, IGA chief executive comments: We thank the Government for listening to our views. The news will give clarity to garages and allow them to plan for the busy period ahead.
Mandatory MOT tests for car, motorcycle and van owners in England, Scotland and Wales are being reintroduced from 1 August 2020.
Vehicle owners with an MOT due date before 1 August will still receive a 6-month exemption Roads Minister Baroness Vere has announced today (Monday 29th June). Crucially, people are able to voluntarily get their MOT sooner should they wish, even if they are exempt from the legal requirement. The news follows reports last week that the government has been consulting trade and industry about ending the MOT extension.
The Independent Garage Association (IGA) is urging the Government to remove the six-month MOT extension with immediate effect, following the Prime Minister’s announcement that further social distancing measures will be relaxed from 4 July.
Further to our reports earlier today, the Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) has shared details of the government’s ongoing consultation with aftermarket trade bodies relating to the cancellation of lockdown MOT relaxation rules.
To this end, the DVSA has sent out a consultation document which includes three options to allow vehicle owners a period of grace during which they can obtain an MOT prior to the cessation of exemptions. This would not affect vehicles already covered by an exemption.