According to BookMyGarage.com, April and May are expected to prove challenging for garages with significantly fewer MOTs now expiring in these months due to the MOT extension last year.
A Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the DVSA, has revealed MOT test numbers collapsed by 79% last April and 61% in May.
The DVSA issued an automatic six-month extension to all MOTs as part of emergency measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19 during the first lockdown. Although it remained in place until the end of July, the data showed test numbers were down by a less severe 16% in June, just 4% in July, and by August had exceeded the same month in 2019 by 9%.
MOT remains the doorway to service bookings for workshops. Analysis by BookMyGarage of its booking data shows that 70% of motorists book both together.
Karen Rotberg, Co-Founder of BookMyGarage.com, explained: “The DVSA figures are crucial to mapping out what the next 12 months looks like for the aftersales sector as it shows us the new distribution of MOT expiry dates created by last year’s extension.
“For garages, it’s not just about MOTs, it’s also the service and repair work that accompanies the majority of tests.
“Overall, the news is more positive than originally feared. We recognise that April and May will be difficult months for the industry but importantly we know MOT numbers will have recovered by the summer.
“It’s also worth remembering that 2021 will not be an exact reflection of 2020. MOT due dates are determined by factors beyond when the last MOT took place, such as when used cars get sold with a fresh MOT and by three year old cars which will be having their first MOT this year (and were therefore immune to last year’s extension).”
According to the SMMT, some 1.22 million new cars and vans were registered between March and June in 2018, many of which will be due their first MOT during these months in 2021.
Between September and January, MOT test numbers were up by nearly a third, as MOTs originally due earlier in the year took place.
Overall, the COVID-19 pandemic appears to have had almost no impact on the total number of MOTs, with test numbers down by just 1.6% compared to the 12 months before COVID-19.