Is New Reg Day Really a Thing of the Past?

New Reg Day, the twice-annual launch of new vehicle registrations in the UK, has lost its appeal for car buyers, new research commissioned by Motorpoint suggests.

As the new car sector gears itself up for the release of the new 72-plate on September 1st, the study for Motorpoint – the UK’s largest independent retailer of nearly new cars and vans – shows that fewer than five percent (4.9%) of potential car buyers are bothered about the digits on their number plate.

The poll of 1,000 people1, conducted by SurveyGoo, found most considered a wide range of other factors much more important when deciding on their next car.

Top of the list for more than three-fifths (63.1%) of would-be buyers is the vehicle’s fuel type e.g. petrol, diesel, hybrid or electric. Perhaps unsurprisingly in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, this was closely followed by price (52.2%) and running costs (47.1%).

The importance of brand image was next on the list, with 27.4% of those surveyed saying the cachet of the badge on the front of the car would be the next thing they considered.  There was then a tie for the fifth most important influencer, with 20.8% of those surveyed citing the overall look of the car and the mileage on the clock as deciding factors.

A wide range of other considerations, including colour, safety features, comfort, availability and onboard technology all ranked more highly than the age identifier on the registration plate.

Dean Walker, Director of Stock and Purchasing at Motorpoint, said: “Many of us will remember just how big a deal the launch of a new registration plate used to be. Dealerships would open at midnight, with customers queuing up to take delivery of their new car so they could be among the first on the road with the new reg.

“Our study confirms what we suspected though, that this is no longer a major factor in the decision-making process for car buyers. It would seem that many people are still unsure how the registration number system works so don’t realise ‘22’ was released in March and that ‘72’ will be launched next month.

“Those who do understand are either not bothered that their number plate identifies their car’s age or know how easy it is to pop a personalised registration on their vehicle after buying it.

“It seems like long lead times and the fact that new cars can depreciate in value when driven off the forecourt is impacting the allure of the new car and driving buyers towards the nearly-new market where cars can be driven away the same day.

“These results though show just how much things have changed as people have started to feel the financial pinch. The fact that a vehicle’s fuel type is now the most important consideration underlines that.”