New plate lethargy

It’s the 1st of March and that means the new 12 plate registration is upon us, so hands up those who have already seen one on the road today? No me neither! Nostalgically I long for the days when the scramble for having the first of the new reg cars on the road really meant something and the deliveries often began at midnight on the 1st, I don’t know I get the logic for changing it so that there is now more of an even flow throughout the year and no bottlenecks. However in these straightened times it would give the spirits a lift to see some gleaming examples on the roads and some proud drivers with fixed smiles on their faces.

I have spoken to contacts in franchised showrooms up and down the country expecting them to be too busy to talk but, as one explained to me, he has had a couple in this morning and another in the
afternoon but really it’s all very relaxed and the bunting and flags are still in the boxes ready for the used car events later in the spring.

Unbelievably one exec told me that he had 3 new cars collected yesterday on the old reg! I couldn’t believe that a customer would take the old reg one day before the new one is out, technically costing hundreds in lost value upon re-sale. The sales exec explained however that the very attractive incentives to those buyers to take the cars in February allowed the dealer to hit important targets. To be honest though there is now a general lethargy about plate changes to such an extent that many customers do not even know what the new plate is.

The fact is that progress ensures change and change is often hard to take but it doesn’t seem to be a big deal anymore so I won’t make it one. And yet I can’t help wondering, in that case, that if cars are built and registered in the same year only a few months apart why should the difference in value of those three cars on re-sale be so pronounced? You can’t have your cake and eat it, it’s not like it is cheaper when new so perhaps the one change of reg per year was actually better for car buyers and perhaps more exciting for dealers but probably changed because of all the extra work that needed to be done by the DVLA!

How’s that for a conspiracy theory?


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