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The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation

Kevan Wooden, Chief Commercial Officer LKQ Euro Car Parts: IAAF Blog – Second Edition

Date: Tuesday 05 July 2022

As the leading supplier of automotive parts in the UK you might not be surprised to hear that we have taken issue with the mooted plan to reduce the frequency of MOT testing from every 12 to every 24 months.

But before the cries of ‘Well, you would say that, wouldn’t you?’ begin’ I’d plead with you to consider three very important reasons why this is, objectively, a bad idea.

First and foremost is safety. Not just of the driver, whose tyres – the ones that had an advisory on last time that they’ve ignored – and brakes haven’t been checked for two years, but their passengers, every other road used and pedestrians.

The UK has an enviable vehicle safety record, better than those nations where safety checks are also less frequent than every year, like many in the EU.

In so many other areas of policy, this government trumpets the power of our newfound independence from Europe to create better, more sensible laws. But on MOTs it seems keener to follow suit for the sake of saving £40.

The safety issue is becoming more pressing as the UK’s vehicle parc ages at a faster rate. New car sales are at their lowest ebb since 1992. The number of models aged five years and above is set to grow significantly.

Cutting back on MOT tests will also damage the UK’s laudable ambitions to reduce its carbon emissions.

At the moment, the annual MOT test is the only time that driver with the black smoke coming out of their exhaust has to do something about it.

This might be a slightly flippant example, although far from fanciful. – MOTs perform vital tests on a vehicle’s emissions reduction systems like catalytic converters.

An older vehicle parc, unless it has effective environmental checks won’t do anything for our Net Zero goal.

Even with the 2030 ban on petrol and diesel vehicles, demand for fossil fuels won’t peak until 2050.

Lastly, it’s unjust because it unfairly penalises the aftermarket, a sector that has suffered enough over the past three years, and in giving false hope to vehicle owners.

I’ll pick up on the former first. An annual MOT ensures little niggles, advisories, and other potential big problems to be spotted and nipped in the bud. That is before they are allowed to fester and, if they don’t cause an accident, will cause a much bigger and more expensive failure.

Going back to the unjust impact on the aftermarket, this is a sector that has had to bend over backwards to accommodate a huge shift in seasonal MOT demand as test deadlines were postponed in the 2020 lockdown.

Just as their businesses are recovering, the government wants to rob them of a major source of income and customer interaction. This is a sector that employs 30,000 people in workshops found in every corner of the land.

The government needs to come up with a strong plan for the cost of living crisis for sure. They should actively work with the IAAF & others to help promote the many alternatives for the consumer to protect the vehicle’s value over time by making use of this country’s wonderful independent or networked garages.

There are so many great value alternatives that garages offer to consumers, that the government should be supporting this network to continue to offer the consumer proactive service at affordable rates.

The IAAF is among those leading the charge against this ill-thought out proposal.

Kevan Wooden, chief commercial officer, LKQ Euro Car Parts