Birmingham tops MOT bottleneck list with centres needing to deal with 86,000 extra tests in two months

Time 1 year ago

Birmingham’s MOT centres are set to see the biggest increase in test demand this autumn, as validity extensions created in response to the Covid-19 crisis come to an end.

An investigation by the DVSA reveals that MOT stations across the UK could see bookings for October and November increase by nearly 70 per cent in some areas, and is encouraging motorists to book their test in an earlier month to help ease the bottleneck.

Garages with a Birmingham postcode will see the biggest net increase in test numbers, suggests the DVSA – estimating 86,753 more test requests in October and November, an increase of 59.36 per cent on typical levels.


Glasgow meanwhile could see the biggest increase in percentage terms year-on-year, with demand likely to rocket 68 per cent compared to a normal year.

The report’s figures have been compiled based on MOT data from the nation’s test centres, and assumes that vehicle owners will book a test in the same geographic area as the vehicle’s previous one.

Regardless, the report paints a similar picture for the entire country: all but one UK postcode is likely to see an increase in demand of over 50 per cent.

The potential bottleneck, of course, comes thanks to the blanket six month extensions given to vehicles with an MOT due between 30 March and 31 July this year – with the first eligible vehicles now requiring a test by October.

As the scheme lacked a tapered finish, October will see millions of additional vehicles – whose MOTs would normally be carried out in March – require testing at the same time as all existing cars with an MOT due in the same month.

Some drivers are already taking heed of the advice, it would seem, with DVSA figures suggesting that MOT stations are testing 20,000 more cars per day than in the same month last year.

Chris Price, head of MOT policy at the DVSA, highlighted the need for drivers to book an MOT at an earlier date.

‘MOT exemptions made sure motorists could keep moving during coronavirus,’ he said. ‘Now exemptions have ended, millions of motorists will be making sure their vehicle is safe by getting an MOT done.

‘Garages across the country will see demand start to peak during September, with almost double the number of MOTs due in October and November.

‘If you have an MOT exemption until October or November, you can beat the rush – get your test done this summer.’

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Stuart James, chief executive office of the IGA, suggests that while this could inevitably pose a challenge, it does present some opportunities in the short term.

‘MOT slots will be more difficult to book in the next few months, so we recommend that garages communicate this to their customers and advise them to book their MOT at their earliest convenience,’ he said.

‘Independents will rise to the challenge to address the demand for MOTs and ensure vehicle safety. It will be an opportunity to increase their customer base for future years if they can satisfy wider customer demand at this challenging time.’

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Car Dealer has been covering the motor trade since 2008 as both a print and digital publication. In 2020 the title went fully digital and now provides daily motoring updates on this website for the car industry. A digital magazine is published once a month.

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