MOT “to take over 10 years” to return to pre-2020 pattern

Published:  27 July, 2021

A MOT surge in the Autumn will be a fact of life for at least a decade, according to a new analysis of the relevant data performed by Continental Tyres.

The company’s study that shows that a de facto MOT season has been inadvertently created by last year’s COVID-19 inspired MOT exemption.

Between 30 March and 31 July 2020, 5.3 million less tests took place, compared to the same period in 2019 as a result of the MOT exemption. Drivers began booking tests in increasing numbers from September, and with these vehicles up for test again, Autumn 2021 is expected to be very busy. September will see 23% more MOTs booked than usual, with around 42% extra expected in November, and 51% more in December, according to .Continental Tyres’ analysis of MOT data from 2018 to 2020.

Tracey Mortimer, Continental Tyres’ Consumer Sales Director UK and Ireland, said: “The postponements to millions of MOTs in 2020 has now created a new seasonal demand curve, which is likely to take over 10 years to return to pre-2020 levels.

“Traditionally, there is a fairly consistent demand for MOT testing across the year. For example, between 3 and 3.5 million MOTs were conducted each month during 2018 and 2019, with only slight peaks in demand in March and September linked to new car registrations, and a slight dip in tests in December.”

Between 800,000 and 1.2 million additional tests are due to take place each month from September to December 2021, with test rates peaking in September and October at around 4.4 – 4.5 million tests a month. This is much higher than the highest peaks in 2018 and 2019.
The Continental analysis of the last three years of new car registrations shows it could take up to 14 years before this curve levels out. Tracey continued: “Demand for MOT tests in April and May is now 2 - 2.5 million lower each month than before the pandemic. Because MOTs are only required when a car is three years old, annual demand for MOTs during these months will only increase by the number of new cars registered in April and May three years prior. With typical average monthly car registrations totalling just 185,000 vehicles in April and 215,000 in May it will take many years for the April and May MOT volumes to return to previous levels.

“What’s more, in 2020 there were just 25,000 cars registered in total across the two months which is far lower than pre-pandemic levels, so we expect virtually no change in MOT demand from 2022 to 2023 when these vehicles are due their first MOT.”

Tracey added: “This data shows that things will be very busy for workshops from September onwards, so it is important that workshops plan ahead to ensure they are fully prepared to meet this uplift in demand and avoid another backlog of bookings and potential customer disappointment.”

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