Will your car pass its MOT? Government releases failure rates
If you have a car, what are the chances of it failing its MOT? Obviously wear and tear is a major factor, but are some makes and models more likely to fail than others? One body that should know is the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA), the area of the Department for Transport which oversees MOTs.
Except they have, up until recently, refused to tell anyone about MOT pass rates; even after the BBC made a Freedom of Information request in the Summer of 2008, the Government body wouldn't release the information. It wasn't until last month that the information commissioner overturned VOSA's decision, meaning the data is now available.
The BBC has begun to trawl through the information (and there are 1,200 pages of it to trawl through); in this example, the list of MOT failure rates is based on stats from tests conducted in 2007 and concerns vehicles that were three years old at the time of testing:
It's not as clear-cut as it looks, however, and is hardly a shitlist for which cars will cost you more in the long term. For example, certain types of vehicle are likely to cover more mileage than others - Vauxhall are quick to point out that during the survey period, they were one of the largest suppliers of fleet vehicles to businesses and these tend to rack up higher-than-average miles. That also leads to another factor - the type of driver behind the wheel. If it's some cocksocket of a businessman who doesn't care how he drives his company car, it'll obviously be more likely to fail.
That might explain away some of the results, but why would a three-year-old Renault Megane be over twice as likely to fail an MOT than a Honda Jazz, or a Fiat Punto be 50 per cent more likely to fail than a Toyota Yaris? Doubtless other factors will affect these results but the question remains - are some manufacturers producing cars of poorer build quality than others? In time plenty of effort will be made to drill down into the numbers, which are currently only available from the VOSA website as a PDF file of 1,200 pages.
So why did the Government try to block this information becoming public?
"The release of information relating to specific make and model would be likely to be commercially damaging to vehicle manufacturers whose failure rates appear higher, and therefore less favourable, than other manufacturers...this information would be likely to be used by some manufacturers to gain a competitive advantage, for example by publicising that their failure rate is lower than another manufacturer's failure rate for a comparable vehicle model."
And there we were assuming the Government held the interests of the tax-paying public higher than those of the car industry. It's possible the information will be abused by manufacturers, but surely it's better to see the data released and analysed for the good of the consumer?
[BBC] thanks to Bitterwallet reader Kiran