New cars buyers 'don't wait for plate change'

Most people looking for a new car no longer wait until the new registration plate and make their decisions on “need rather than vanity”.

That’s according to research into the motivations behind buying a new car among 1,000 people. The report suggested that the spikes in demand seen when the plates change in March and September are more likely to be fuelled by manufacturers, dealers and fleet buyers.

The survey, by makes interesting reading for dealers. Following trends in the industry is important for future planning and stocking decisions. However, if you make any changes in your volume of stock, always check your motor trade insurance to ensure your policy covers them.

The report found that 77.5 per cent of buyers would not wait for the plate change if they were looking for a new vehicle. Of those who did, they considered it a practical step and did not do so for image reasons.

However, around a third of new car sales still take place during the plate change months. The survey suggests this is due to dealer registration and fleet buyers’ activity.

Austin Collins, managing director of, said: “Our findings support all the other evidence emerging that buying a car is a practical process, driven by need rather than vanity.

“The fact that a third of cars are registered in just two months of the year, while more than three quarters of people say they pay little or no heed to the latest plate, reveals a widening gap between registration activity and patterns of demand in the market.

“This has been a tremendous year for motor retail in Britain and we believe the steady growth shown by our own results reflects the true underlying market dynamic, rather than the artificial peaks created by fleet purchasers and manufacturer target-led dealer registrations.”