Ten manufacturers with the lowest MOT pass rates

MOT symbolA few weeks back, we blogged about the manufacturers that boast the best MOT pass rates. But there’s no yin without yang, and so this time we present the manufacturers with the lowest pass rates.

Before we get started…

We’d hate to mislead anyone about what the data tells us, so our list comes with a couple of health warnings:

Age matters

This list uses information on cars manufactured between 1980 and 2010. Now, obviously, the older a car is, the less likely it is to pass its MOT. That means that a company like Daewoo, which ceased manufacturing in 2004, is likely to do badly. All of its cars heading for MOTs in 2013 (when the data was compiled) would be at least nine years’ old. Also, a manufacturer whose volumes have declined in recent years would again suffer from having more older cars tested.

Rankings change

We think this 30 year data set is interesting because it tells us about the problems manufacturers have faced over the years, and about how older vehicles on our roads are doing. But bear in mind that manufacturers move rapidly up and down the reliability ranks. Takeovers, changes in management and replacing ageing models can all cause big jumps in reliability. Therefore, be wary about generalising our list to newer models.

On with the list…

As before, we turned to Honest John for reliable information. Their data refers to the pass rate in 2013 for vehicles registered between 1980 and 2010. In reverse order, here are the ten manufacturers that came out with the lowest MOT pass rates:

Fiat: 57% pass rate fiat logo

Our tenth-ranked manufacturer is a perfect example of how fortunes can change. Historically, Fiat has struggled to achieve good mechanical reliability across its range, with older models of Multipla, Brava and the Fiat 500 faring particularly badly. However, a 2017 review of reliability suggests Fiat have zoomed ahead to 12th most reliable marque, overtaking even stalwarts such as Honda.


SsangYong: 57% pass rate 

SsangYong has not always had an easy ride with reliability, and perhaps this reflects the changing partnerships, ownerships and finances of the South Korean company. After going into receivership in 2009, Ssangyong were acquired by Indian auto giants Mahindra and Mahindra in 2011. Their recent offerings have attracted much more positive reviews.


Vauxhall: 57% pass rate 

vauuxhall logoVauxhall illustrates how a marque can vary widely across its different models. This poor average showing hides some individual successes, such as the newer Corsa’s 80% pass rate. But these are balanced out by the ageing models such as the Cavalier, which managed a pass rate of just 49%.


Citroen: 56% pass rate 

Just to show how much individual cars can vary: one of us had a 1994 Citroen ZX that managed 180,000 miles without missing a beat. In the bigger picture though, Citroen don’t fare so well, with the quirky French manufacturer managing just a 56% pass rate overall. 26.2% of failures came from lamps, reflectors and electrical equipment, with suspension and brakes accounting for another 25%.


Alfa Romeo 56% pass rate 

The Italian company’s rankings are damaged by problem models. For example, the Alpha 156 only managed a pass rate of 43.5%, and with 19,483 vehicles tested, this put a big dent in Alpha’s figures.


chrysler logoChrysler: 55% pass rate 

The relatively poor historical showing for Chrysler in UK tests is mirrored by more recent assessments from across the pond. Automotive News’ posted a short but interesting article looking at the groups’ continued success and their efforts to improve reliability .


Peugeot: 54% pass rate 

We’d love to challenge the stereotype that French cars are unreliable — but unfortunately here’s the second of three French companies in the bottom ten. Almost a third of the vehicles failed on lamps, reflectors and electrical equipment.


Rover: 50% pass rate 

MG Rover met its demise in 2005, which means that the MOT failures list contains a disproportionate number of older Rover cars. However, even allowing for this, the company’s reliability was often under question.


renaultRenault: 49% pass rate

Renault are well aware of their reputation for less than stellar reliability. They’ve drawn on the quality control mechanisms of Japanese partners Nissan to improve their rankings. Gradually this is reaping rewards, with the marque now ranked as the 14th most reliable on Britain’s roads.


Daewoo: 45% pass rate

South Korean Daewoo gets the wooden spoon for having the lowest historical MOT pass rate over the period measured. However, this lowest placing is a little unfair. Like Rover, Daewoo’s poor results are skewed by the fact that it ceased manufacturing before the 2010 cut-off point — actually in 2004. 43.8% of the range’s failures included steering and suspension problems, with a further 25.8% coming from lamps, reflectors and electrical equipment.


Marque vs History

As we pointed out in our best manufacturers article, do remember that individual models vary widely, and individual cars even more so. The most reliable marques will still fail if they’ve not been well cared for, and vice versa. Regular servicing and high quality repair work can make all of the difference. And for all of your MOT needs, give us a call!