These cars were technically registered as fleet sales, but had no buyer, and will reach the nearly new car market in three months' time when car makers and dealers no longer have to reveal them as pre-registered models. One industry insider said manufacturers had geared up to sell 550,000 cars in September, in a market that struggled to reach 500,000 naturally despite lavish consumer offers of cash-backs, enhanced specifications, zero percent finance and free insurance.
The remaining cars were spuriously registered despite the absence of a buyer, according to Nick Brown, managing director of contract hire firm Black-i. The Government attempted to stamp out the manipulation of the new car market in its New Cars Order 2000 by obliging manufacturers to reveal the volumes of pre-registered cars, defined as cars that were registered without a buyer and that were subsequently sold within three months. The three month threshold was established to enable justified pre-registration of demonstrator fleets, but it is now apparently being abused.
'Is it not strange that cars just over the minimum three-months old laid down by Government to avoid the new pre-registration rules are now hitting showrooms with 'delivery mileage' and at vastly reduced prices?' asked Brown.
He said the UK economy was not healthy enough to support a 2.5 million annual new car market, and warned that pre-registration was hurting the fleet sector by damaging residual values, and sending the wrong signals to the Government about the buoyancy of the new car market.