End March v September registration plate confusion, says Glass’s

Manufacturers should alter their new car sales targets and allow the March plate change to become the “natural” peak month of the year, says vehicle data provider Glass’s.

Currently, most franchise dealers are given higher targets for September – even though consumers appear to prefer the March plate because it clearly shows the year of registration.

This is reflected in actual sales figures. In 2014, March registrations reached 464,824 while September totalled 425,861, despite manufacturer and dealer activities heavily promoting the later change in order to maximise new car sales in September.

Many dealers face ambitious new car sales targets for 2015 and are sceptical about their ability to meet them, without distressing the market, explained car editor Jonathan Brown. Complications such as attempting to move the peak sales month only added further pressure.

He said: “Almost every franchise dealer will tell you that March is the natural high point of the year and they suggest that manufacturers should set targets accordingly. Customers much prefer to have the current year clearly visible in their new registration plate.

“However, manufacturers insist on putting even more effort into the September change and setting higher targets, which adds pressure on dealers to artificially skew volume into the later plate change, something that takes a lot of effort.” This action ultimately is damaging Residual Values!

“It is something that dealers do grumble about. In our view, the new car market would operate more effectively and with less damage to residual values if it was agreed that March was the peak month with targets and incentives aligned accordingly.”

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