Workshop demand is likely to be high Q3 thru Q4 2021, so book vehicles in early says ATS Euromaster.

Workshop demand is likely to be high Q3 thru Q4 2021, so book vehicles in early says ATS Euromaster.

Credit: Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles

With a surging economy growing 4.8% in Q2, and a labor market on the rebound, fleets in the UK are going back to business as companies re-emerge from the virus pandemic lockdown.

However, this quickly opening economy could hit the buffers as vehicle and supply shortages, along with a surge in demand for MOTs and servicing, could force vehicles off the road, with vital business opportunities missed through unwanted vehicle downtime.

The MOT is a mandatory annual test on all vehicles over 3 years old concerned with safety, road-worthiness, and exhaust emissions. An MOT can only be carried out by a qualified tester at a certified garage.The acroonym MOT stands for the Ministry of Transport. 

According to tire fitment and SMR service suppliers, ATS Euromaster, if fleets do not plan their vehicle maintenance, they could miss the window of business opportunity through operational shortcomings.

The company is predicting a surge in MOTs from September following enforcement agency DVSA’s MOT extension guarantees. Essentially these MOT extensions, dating from March 2020, have concertinaed demand into Q4.

ATS Euromaster says it tracked its data from 2020 which showed a significant rise in MOT activity from May that peaked in mid-September thru mid-November as drivers rushed to get MOTs completed following the covid MOT extension.

Overlaying this data against 2021 trends, the company says that 2021 demand is substantially higher than year previous, as last year’s MOT work cycles through the 12-month system, but with the addition of new cars entering the requirement for an MOT after three years of ownership.

According to figures from the regulatory body, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), nearly seven million MOTs are due to expire during September and October - or 22% more than in 2020.

Creating the pinch point is the increased level of servicing requirement from van fleets which have been operational throughout the pandemic, along with fleet vehicles coming back into full time service as the economy starts to gear up again.

Mark Holland, head of operations at ATS Euromaster said: “With more than five million additional tests expected to take place by the end of the year, it is vital to get MOTs and other repairs booked in, otherwise drivers risk a hefty fine as well as risking driver safety and insurance invalidation.” He adds: “Failing to plan effectively for necessary vehicle maintenance could also result in lost revenue as vehicle off road issues impact business opportunities.”

ATS Euromaster said it was gearing up to meet the heightened demand with additional facilities at its centres and with more trained technicians.

Securing operational time for servicing isn’t just a European fleet issue. Ensuring critical vehicle uptime is affecting American fleets too - read our story Impact on Maintenance as Vehicles Idled Due to Pandemic.