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The government agency which runs MOT tests in the UK has finally given in to a BBC request for all the information on which cars were most likely to fail the test in 2007.

The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency, an agency of the Ministry of Transport, gave in and released the data yesterday.

VOSA originally claimed it could not reveal the information because of commercial confidentiality. Today it said the information should be interpreted carefully, but said it would make it available online later in the year. In the meantime the Beeb has an Excel spreadsheet you can download from here.

VOSA said MOT failure rates: "do not necessarily reflect on the ‘reliability or longevity’ of the particular make and model of car concerned – and very often say more about the owner and the way the car has been used and maintained."

Frustratingly this is true - because the data does not include why the car or van failed. So it could be a simple tyre or light problem rather than anything serious. Without some clue to mileage and basic maintenance it is hard to glean useful information.

But some trends are clear: Japanese cars generally do well, while taking a pre-1999 Alfa Romeo to the garage means you have a 50:50 chance of walking home. But then you knew that already, right? At the other end of the scale, only ten per cent of Bentley Continentals failed their test.

Looking at models with over 20, 000 tests in 2007 puts the Renault Megane at top of poorly performing cars with a failure rate of 28.1 per cent, Peugot's 307 was in fourth place with a failure rate of 24.7 per cent.

Admittedly this ignores two Transit vans at number one and number three with 30.5 per cent and 26.3 per cent failure rates respectively- but given how the white van is typically driven, and maintained, we think this is fair.

There is a breakdown of the most popular models here. ®

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