Fleet News

Industry 'furious' over plate change U-turn

ANGER, confusion and bewilderment spread through the motor industry this week after it emerged that plans to introduce a twice-yearly car registration plate change starting in March next year had been postponed. As a result, it appears that there will be an August 1, 1998 plate change despite industry expectations that the recent introduction of the R-plate would be the last August 1 change.

The Government's apparent refusal to announce the introduction of a new registration system leaked out during a meeting between Christopher Macgowan, chief executive of the Retail Motor Industry Federation, and roads minister Baroness Hayman. Macgowan called it 'a colossal setback', while the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders was 'incredibly frustrated' with a spokesman saying: 'There are some very angry voices in the industry. There is nothing to stop this issue being resolved and we cannot understand why a decision cannot be made.'

A spokesman for the Department of Transport would only say that 'no decision had been made' and declined to elaborate as to why this was the case when consultations had been completed last March and the new Government agreed that changes were required to end the August registration chaos. With no decision on the introduction of the expected twice-yearly plate change - in March and September - manufacturers face production difficulties as they should now be increasing production levels to meet March demand.

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