Fleet News

Motor industry gears-up for September plate-change

Industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) expects around 330,000 new cars to be registered during September, with motorists spending in the region of £4.95 billion on the latest new vehicles.

September is the second biggest month for dealers across the UK and accounts for almost a fifth of the year's trade, with the other plate-change month of March traditionally the busiest.

More than 300 fuel-efficient, technology-packed models are currently on the market, representing one of the biggest ever choices for UK motorists.

"September is a significant month for the UK motor industry and the wider economy.

A strong month for new vehicle registrations will help put both on the right track," said Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive.

"Franchised dealers have a fantastic range of exciting new models on offer, each with enhanced levels of fuel efficiency, safety, comfort and affordable finance.

These advantages make it a great time to buy a new car and motorists should visit their local dealer to secure a new 62-plate in September."

Key statistics

  • Fuel efficiency - average new car CO2 emissions are now 138g/km with official miles per gallon figures typically exceeding 50mpg.
  • Safety - 77% of new cars tested by Euro NCAP in 2011 achieved five stars and in the last 10 years road fatalities have fallen almost 50%.
  • Security - theft of vehicles has fallen almost 70% over the past 10 years, while theft from vehicles has also dropped significantly, down over 50%.
  • Colour - based on this year's buying trends, black and white cars are expected to make-up the lion's share of September registrations, while red and brown car registrations look set to grow compared with last year.
  • Size/type - so far this year, the Supermini segment has proven to be the most popular, accounting for 36.6% of the total market, while Dual Purpose vehicles have enjoyed the largest growth in market share.
  • Alternative fuels - market share of alternatively-fuelled vehicles is growing steadily with more hybrid, pure electric and biofuel models available than ever before.
  • New technology - digital radio is rapidly becoming the ‘must-have' option for new car buyers. Over a quarter of new cars have digital radio fitted as standard, as consumers look ahead to the planned 2015 switchover.

The registration plate changed in 1999 from alphabetical to the twice-yearly March and September system that uses the year as an identifier.

The new system uses two letters at the start of the plate to identify the region a vehicle is registered in, the following two digits refer to the year (ie in 2012 the March plate changed to ‘12', and in September it will be ‘62').

The final three letters are randomly allocated to new car dealerships across the country.

Motor Codes operates a government-backed Code of Practice for new cars that covers over 99% of all new cars sold in the UK.

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