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More cars now failing than passing NCT 01.05.13

4.4m spent on re-tests in 2012

by Linda McGrory

THE recession is seeing more cars now failing than passing the NCT test each year with Irish drivers spending a whopping 4.4 million on re-test fees alone in 2012.
Over half (51.3 per cent) of all cars tested last year failed the test compared to a pass rate of just 48.3 per cent. 4,144 cars were deemed dangerously un-roadworthy after testing last year.
And the trend continues with 177,416 cars (52.2 per cent) failing the NCT compared to 160,978 passing (47.4%) in the first three months of this year.
In 2010, the pass rate was 51.7 per cent compared to a fail rate of 47.8 per cent. In 2011 the pass rate fell to 50.6 per cent compared to a 49 per cent fail rate. However, the balance shifted for the first time in 2012 with only 48.3 per cent of cars (515,212) passing compared to 51.3 per cent (548,628) failing the test.
Some 63 million in NCT tests and re-tests was spent by Irish motorists in 2012 - the best result so far for Applus, the Spanish operators of the service.
The bumper figures are partly due to the 10 per cent rise in the test fee to 55 combined with the introduction of annual testing for cars ten years and older in 2012.
Applus which employs nearly 600 people in Ireland, made a pre-tax profit here of some 2.6 million in 2011.
The company said there is an increasingly higher fail rate partly because more people are driving older cars in the recession.
"We are finding that, unlike in the boom when many people bought new cars, drivers are now holding on to their cars for longer and maintaining them as opposed to upgrading," said NCT spokeswoman, Sinead McKeon.
"And we are seeing more people undertaking the test for the very first time because previously they would have driven new cars and upgraded regularly and would never have had to go through the test.
Ms McKeon added: "The introduction of the annual NCT has also made an impact on the pass rates because the 10-year old cars tested in 2011 had to come back into us again in 2012.
"People are also using the NCT as a diagnostic tool to see what's wrong with their cars rather than going to the mechanic before and after the test. This is also pushing down the overall pass rate.
"Having said that, cars are still generally failing on the same things such as front suspension, brake lines and hoses and tyre condition, added Ms McKeon.
Applus' latest statistics show that there were 339,569 tests carried out between January and March this year on 2005, 2007 and 2009-registered cars as well as vehicles ten years and older. Of these, 1,175 were deemed dangerously un-roadworthy. A further 163,197 re-tests carried out in the same period with a total of 14,579 failing second time around and 167 deemed un-roadworthy.
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