The switch in 1999 from an annual change in August to an accelerated March and September plate change is costing fleets hundreds of pounds per car.
CAP national research manager Martin Ward told an audience of fleet decision-makers at the Fleet News Hit for Six Conference that the change to the twice-yearly plate, combined with pressure on new car prices, have had the biggest influence on the current uncertain state of residual values.
'The twice-yearly system is ridiculous. The system is damaging used car values and even three-year-old cars with V-registration plates are now looking ancient,' he said. 'As time goes on these vehicles will just fall off the bottom of the scale and dealers will not be interested. At a time when cars are being designed to last longer people are having to sell them much earlier.'
He said that the problem was not having an age indicator, but changing plates twice a year. He told delegates, in a session sponsored by Manheim Auctions: 'We should have an indicator, but the UK is the only country that changes plates twice a year.'