The National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) has called for a three-month MOT moratorium during the Government-imposed lock-down of non-essential retail businesses.
While the industry body has argued that car retailers’ aftersales operations should be allowed to remain open to provide an essential service to fleet operators and other key workers who need to remain mobile amid the coronavirus outbreak, it called for clarification on MOT laws for the rest of the population.
At a time when many vehicle owners are going to be ill, in quarantine or social distancing, NFDA does not think it is reasonable to require them to venture out to get their vehicles MOT-tested, it said in a statement.
NFDA director, Sue Robinson added: “Due to the current circumstances, we call on the Government to introduce an immediate three-month moratorium on MOT testing which would reduce social contact.”
The NFDA believes that the temporary drop in income for those who carry out the test could be compensated by the many support schemes for businesses and workers that the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has already announced.
The NFDA this week wrote a letter to Grant Shapps MP, Secretary of State for the Department for Transport (DfT), to outline franchised dealers’ priorities during the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak in relation to workshops opening and MOT testing.
As many of the AM100’s top retail groups indicated their intention to continue offering a limited aftersales provision during the current pandemic, the NFDA said that it was its understanding that the vehicle technicians who are being asked to continue to work at franchised dealers’ premises will fall under the definition of key workers.
It said that this was in-line with the Government guidance which states that key workers in the transport sector “includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.”
The official Government guidence for aftersales providers who remain open during the current outbreak, issued by the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government, state that they must:
• Ensure a distance of two meters between customers and shop assistants; and
• Let people enter the shop only in small groups, to ensure that spaces are not crowded.
Robinson said: “It is crucial that franchised dealers’ workshops stay open to help the Government meet its goal of keeping freight transport on the roads operating, by ensuring that thousands of vans and smaller commercial vehicles will continue to able to be serviced and repaired.
“Workshops are vital in ensuring that critical vehicles can continue to operate safely and efficiently during these extremely challenging times”.
“NFDA would welcome the opportunity to further discuss the suggested measures with the Department for Transport.”