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RECORD numbers of more than 2.6 million cars are due their first MoT over the next 12 months and franchised dealers have been warned to prepare their workshops now or risk losing the work to fast-fit operators and independent garages.

Coachworks Consulting said the sector faces a massive influx of three year old cars first registered in 2016, when the new car market hit an all-time high of 2,692,786 units.

Managing director Karl Davis said: “An unprecedented swell of MoTs will hit workshops from March and franchised dealers have a one-off opportunity to retain customers they sold a record number of cars to three years ago.

“Dealers need to be contacting customers as early as possible about their first MoT and not just wait for the due date. If they fail to do this then customers will go to fast-fits and independent garages and if they have a good experience they won’t come back.”

Coachworks estimates the influx equates to an opportunity for franchised workshops to conduct an average of 50 extra MoT tests per site per month over the next 12 months.

Davis added: “This huge volume of first MoTs should be welcomed as a business opportunity which franchised dealers can control. That means free vehicle health checks should be offered on every car and customer visits should be used as opportunities to open conversations about trade-ins.”

He acknowledged that many dealers will already have customer reminders set up on their DMS but believes the sheer volume of cars due their first MoT this year still needs to be carefully managed.

The first MoTs from the bumper year are due in March with Coachworks highlighting that 518,707 new cars were registered in March 2016.

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