CEO Update

Future-proofing MOTs should be prioritised over extended intervals

24 March 2023 #CEO Update

Safety is our industry’s number one priority and the MOT plays a crucial role in keeping the UK’s vehicles and roads safe. While billions of pounds of investment by vehicle manufacturers has made vehicles even safer and more reliable, the MOT test often remains the first opportunity to identify natural wear and tear on safety-critical components such as tyres, brakes and lights.

Issues with these items are frequently associated with MOT failures and so it makes little sense to move the first test from year three to four or five, as government is considering. Indeed, new research published by SMMT on Wednesday as the consultation closed demonstrates that the majority of motorists don’t share the same appetite to change MOT frequency and would welcome other ways to save money, despite the increased cost of living.

If changes are to be made, the focus should instead be on bringing the test in line with evolving vehicle technology to maintain the highest levels of safety. This includes facilitating the testing of advanced electrified powertrains, driver assistance technologies, and connected and automated features.

Elsewhere this week, SMMT was in Brussels for ACEA’s annual reception and key meetings with industry colleagues, as well as representatives from the European Commission and sister trade bodies to promote the interests of the UK automotive industry in Europe. The visit allowed for critical discussion on a wide range of topics from Rules of Origin and competitiveness, to future regulations that could support decarbonisation. The visit came just as the UK Parliament voted to back the Stormont Brake element of the Windsor Framework deal which will hopefully build trust and momentum in rebuilding this important relationship.

There will be a further opportunity for the sector to come together at the annual SMMT International Automotive Summit in June. This year’s theme of industry resilience will be covered by a range of keynote speakers and four panel sessions, to an audience of some 300 senior level representatives drawn from across the breadth of industry, government and wider stakeholders.

Areas such as international collaboration, skills and the technology required for electrification will be discussed, along with an in-depth look at what is needed to maximise UK manufacturing. I am also delighted to announce that we will once again hear an economic update from Chris Giles, Economics Editor for the Financial Times. Tickets are now on sale and you can purchase yours by contacting the Events team.

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