Coronavirus: Garage owner admits ‘the likelihood is we will go bust’

MOT exemptions come in from 1 April. Image: S Cutajar

A garage owner in Wigan admits his company could go under as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Garages are among the businesses allowed to stay open under government lockdown measures to slow the spread of the virus – to allow key workers to keep their vehicles safe.

But David Wood, a partner at Marus Bridge MOT Centre, thinks the situation will eventually affect his business.

He said: “The likelihood is that from this pandemic we will go bust to be honest. We’ll stay open as long as we can.”

Earlier this week, the government announced MOT extensions of six months from 1 April for cars, motorbikes and light vans in a bid to help prevent the spread of the virus.

An example from sates: “Your vehicle’s MOT was due to expire on 3 April 2020.

“This will automatically be extended to 3 October 2020. You will need to get your MOT by this date.”

But Mr Wood thinks there will be an impact on his business, and raised the question of how insurers will approach the situation.

Even though drivers will be given an MOT extension, they will be required to ensure their vehicles are in a roadworthy condition.

‘People will hold off, that’s the nature of it. But the government is in a difficult position and they have to do something,” Mr Wood said. 

A spokesperson for the Association of British Insurers (ABI) said: “In this unprecedented situation, insurers will not penalise you if you can’t get an MOT. Safety is paramount, so check your brakes, tyres, and lights before driving.”

Not everyone is experiencing a drop in business though.

Ged Waddington, director at District Garage, Bolton says he has experienced a rise in demand for long-standing work with people spending more time at home, but is also unsure how MOT extensions will affect him. 

He said:  “We’re still really busy because people working from home means they’ve been able to bring their cars in for jobs such as getting advisories fixed and stuff we’ve flagged-up in the past.

“It’s early days on the MOT exemption, we’ve been busy for two weeks and will be until the end of the month with people needing to come in. We’ve only had one cancellation because of it.”