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Dealers warned to plan for new plates

Demand for used cars with new-style registration plates is expected to be strong, according to BCA Europe.

It predicts residual values will improve, but warns that dealers are not doing enough to prepare for the changes. The new system, to be introduced in September, will use two letters followed by two numbers to show the area and date of initial registration. It ends with three random letters.

Tom Madden, BCA Europe customer affairs director, said: “Few trade and corporate customers in the used car market have considered the ramifications.

“The new system will probably make the age identifier less obvious and, as a result, might eventually bring about a change to the buying patterns that we have become used to.”

Private buyers attending BCA's Blackbushe, Surrey, centre suggested the new age identifier would be less important than the current prefix when choosing a used car.

“It is possible that the plate will have a reducing influence for private buyers, while the year becomes more important,” said Mr Madden.

“Retail dealers will have to address how they market vehicles to their best advantage.”

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