Which car tops the MOT failure league?

Posted on: 18 January 2010 by Mark O'haire

The Renault Megane is the UK's least reliable popular car, according to secret MOT data revealed by the Department of Transport.

Models of the family hatchback failed their first MOT in 2007 more frequently than any other widely-owned car: 28% of all '53-, '04 and '54-plated Meganes failed their first test in that year, according to the newly-released figures.

The Peugeot 307 and Vauxhall Corsa ranked joint second-most unreliable, with a first MOT failure rate of 24.7%. Fourth was the Renault Scenic with a 23% failure rate.

These placings strip out Ford Transit vans, the Connect model of which which had a higher failure rate than the Megane at 30.5%.

The cars least likely to fail their first MOT in 2007 were the Toyota Corolla (11.2%), the Honda Jazz (13.3%) and the Honda Civic (14.1%).

The 2007 MOT data was released by DfT subsidiary the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA)  in response to a Freedom of Information request submitted by the BBC, which then collected the data into league tables.

The BBC's list took vehicles first used in 2004 and includes only those models that were tested 20,000 times or more in 2007.

Renault issued a statement defending its cars, claiming that they do above-average mileage and that vehicles tested less than 20,000 times had higher failure rates.

Renault said: 'In 2004, the Renault Mégane was the second best-selling car in its segment, with a majority of its sales to company fleets. These vehicles will do an above-average mileage and it is unfortunate that the data does not take this into account as there are a multitude of reasons why a vehicle can vehicle can fail an MOT, from a light bulb to a tyre, that relate to use and maintenance.

'Also we do not understand the 20,000 threshold for the data that has been provided by VOSA, as there are a number of vehicles below that with a higher failure rate.'

Autocar magazine looked further into the figures at less-tested cars and found that the Chrysler 300C had a failure rate of 40% for first MOTs in 2007 and the Fiat Multipla 30.6%. Meanwhile the Lexus GS300 and Bentley Continental GT both had failure rates in single figures at 8.1% and 7.4% respectively.

Autocar's used car expert James Ruppert said, 'This is an interesting report because it confirms the stereotypical views about French cars being problematic and Japanese ones being reliable.

'Unfortunately, it makes no allowance for mileage or usage: a fleet-owned Renault Megane that does 25,000 miles a year will have a much harder life than a Honda Jazz that's used on the school run.

'Fleet cars like Meganes and 307s are also more likely to be neglected by their owners than more expensive, privately owned cars.'

Click here to download the VOSA data

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