Fleet News

'52' plate greeted by indifference all round

'THE new '52' plate came and went and, if it wasn't for the advice given by sales people and leasing company personnel, then the buying public would probably be none the wiser about the change. It seems to be the best-kept secret in the motor industry.

Did anybody actually advertise this change or did the powers that be think it was a foregone conclusion that every man and his dog have got their heads around this twice-yearly occurrence?

Speaking to non-trade friends, they hadn't got a clue about the change from '02' to '52' and, to be frank, didn't really care.

Salespeople at franchised dealers had to explain to customers about the change and convince them to postpone delivery from mid-August to September 1. A pattern is now emerging. The March plate change is popular but the September one is a non-event.

A lesson must be learnt for next year if registrations are to remain high and not depend on word-of-mouth by salesmen to their customers. Otherwise we could see a big August registration month and a very average September.

The '02' or '03' plate is the one to have, and this will reflect also on the used car market.

In future the early plate will be the best car in the market because it is the most easily identified.

The latest fashion

THERE is a definite switch from the traditional estate car to the more fashionable MPV.

The executive estate is still sought after, such as BMW Touring and Audi A4 Avant, but the run-of-the-mill estate now struggles.

These include Vauxhall Astra, Ford Focus and similar brands. There is now so much choice in the MPV market that the days of having to wait for a nice one to appear on the used market are long gone.

If you think the choice is endless now, whether the customer needs a full seven or eight-seater or just a five-seater, then over the next few months even more will be hitting the new car showrooms, and some very capable ones at that, too.

They are trendy, no matter what badge they carry, and that image is likely to continue, with demand growing as the years go by and they eventually become the norm. The traditional estate seems to be a dying breed.'

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