Federal-Mogul is backing the UK's "critical" decision to retain yearly vehicle testing for models more than three years old.

Intense lobbying by the industry has seen the annual test - known in Britain as the MOT - kept instead of moving to bi-annual inspections much to the relief of the independent repair market struggling in the economic downturn.

"The [UK] government has done us the biggest favour it could by withdrawing that proposal and sticking to the current frequency of test because 422 [proposal] would have been a disaster for the individual repair market," Federal-Mogul field marketing manager, UK, Ireland, Baltic, Nordic, Jonathan Allen, told just-auto at the supplier's recent Technology Day in Nuremberg.

"Whenever times are tough, car repairs are not top of the agenda. At least now there is a guarantee that people...have safe cars on the road. It was critical the MOT was maintained because it might be that is the only reason the vehicle enters the workshop. I think the intervals between vehicles entering workshops have extended, perhaps because of the downturn."

Allen also added he was satisfied with individual garages' access to repair and maintenance information (RMI) - despite European automotive supplier body CLEPA's long-held misgivings smaller operations did not have equality of access.

Newly-appointed CLEPA CEO, Jean-Marc Gales recently told just-auto the Brussels body and automakers "have not the same opinion about information," but Allen pointed to the European Commission's block exemption as a safeguard.

"The regulations are in place to ensure individuals do have access to the information," he said. "The block exemption covers that quite extensively.

"On a product line by line basis, we offer the garages a lot of technical support. Where they perhaps feel at a disadvantage is on the diagnostic side."

The current financial downturn has perhaps also prompted some garages to offer less expensive parts to consumers, although Allen cautioned against the practice.

"Some garages - perhaps wrongly - think of ways to help customers by fitting cheaper parts that are not so durable," he said. "A repairer's time has to be well deployed these days - there is a phrase: 'buy cheap, buy twice.'"

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