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One in five cars fails its first MOT

Silver carA fifth of cars registered in 2008 failed their first MOT, with testers most likely to fail cars from French firms Renault, Citroen and Peugeot.

The worst performing family car was the Renault Megane, with only 71 per cent of cars registered in 2008 passing their first MOT test.

The British-built MINI One came second from last, with 25 per cent of these vehicles registered in 2008 failing their first test.

The car with the highest MOT pass rate was the Suzuki Splash at 90 per cent.

The results come from the analysis of tens of millions of records obtained from the Vehicle Operator and Services Agency (VOSA).

Between 1 October 2010 and 30 September 2011 a total of 352,000 cars – equalling one in five - failed their first MOT with European manufacturers performing worst. 

Bottom 10 pass rates by manufacturer

1. Renault        76%
2. Mini            76%
3. Citroen        76%
4. Chevrolet      76%    
5. Peugeot        77%
6. Fiat             77%
7. Volvo          78%
8. Vauxhall       79%
9. Mitsubishi      79%
10. Jaguar        79%

Most common reasons for failure

The most common reasons for failure were lighting and signalling problems, which affected 164,837 cars, followed closely by tyre concerns, which accounted for 96,760 failures.

Headlight aim and issues with the driver’s view of the road also contributed significantly to the number of failures.

According to the report, a surprise addition to the bottom 10 list, given that their cars are traditionally a byword for durability, is Volvo.

More than 5,800 of the Swedish manufacturer’s 26,000 2008-registered cars failed their first MOT.

By contrast, Japanese manufacturers produced some of the best-performing cars with the top three most likely to pass their MOT first time being the Lexus, Suzuki and Honda.

Consumers better informed

Daniel Harrison, editor of, which analysed the data, said: “This is information that has been kept from car owners for many years.

“It’s the first time that this information has been made available in this detail, and in a format that makes it easy to access.

“Families using the data will be better able to keep control over the cost of motoring.”

Top 10 pass rates by manufacturer

1. Lexus            88%
2. Suzuki            86%
3. Honda            85%
4. Saab             84%
5. Toyota            83%
6. Audi              83%
7. Smart              83%
8. Mercedes Benz    83%
9. Landrover       82%
10. SEAT           81%