Confidence in the accuracy of the monthly sales figures has frequently been undermined by so-called 'self-registrations' by some manufacturers at the end of the month.
While the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders vehemently defends both its figures and the manufacturers, frequent checks on registration patterns show that month-end blips regularly occur.
Manufacturers say the pattern is accentuated by dealers and car buyers cashing in on bonuses and special offers due to finish at the end of that month. However, some manufacturers, particularly Mitsubishi, have been loud in their condemnation of self-registrations.
One of the conditions of the new order is that manufacturers are required to publish information about the number of cars they have pre-registered.
Alan Pulham, franchised dealers director of the Retail Motor Industry Federation, claimed: 'In theory - at least - August 2000 should be the last month of self-registrations being a significant influence on success or failure for several volume manufacturers.'