Ever wondered if some motors fail their MOT more than others? Course you have, but it has taken a Radio 4 journalist and a request under The Freedom of Information Act to get to the truth.

The Today Programme asked me to comment and sent through the stats last night. Basically, vans fail really often, Vauxhall Corsas aren’t too far behind and there is a whole bunch of French cars (Renaults and Peugeots) not far from the top of the list.

Interestingly, these were not old nails but vehicles registered in 2004 and tested for the first time in 2007.

Without getting into the mass of detail that VOSA supplied, out of 11,027 Lagunas tested 5517 failed.

Compare that with the Saab 9-3, which has a similar automotive footprint, and of the 11,147 tested, only 1549 failed. Or of the 18,551 Corollas tested just 2322 got the MOT tester’s shake of the head.

Indeed the bottom seven of the list (ie the least number of test failures, and therefore best performing) are all Japanese. This pretty much bears out my default recommendation of anything Japanese these days for a stress-free motoring life, which in turn is backed up by warranty based stats such as the reliabilityindex.co.uk.

Even so, we do have to qualify all this, because commercial vehicles lead incredibly hard lives and seldom get a break, especially for routine services. By contrast, nice people like us who write for and read Autocar, always make sure that our cars are safe and sound.

Obviously stats can prove anything and a hard used Ford Mondeo (21 per cent) may well be near the top of the list because reps strive to meet every appointment and ignores the brake pad wear indicator. In contrast, the family-friendly Renault Scenic (23 per cent) , and Vauxhall Meriva (22 per cent) or relatively rare Fiat Stilo (23 per cent) should not be doing so badly. The ubiquitous Vauxhall Corsa (24 per cent) maybe has an excuse, but then you can contrast that with the Ford Fiesta, which along with the Fusion has a low 15 per cent failure rate.

Manufacturers should probably be chatting with their component suppliers, as the failures are mostly braking and suspension related. Plenty ,though, are a result of driver neglect, whether it be broken number plates or cracked screens.

So there is at least one thing that you won’t find in the stats - human error.