AM Online

New plate system spells end of traditions

After an extremely buoyant and much need lift to start the year, recent reports suggest that retail demand is beginning to slow to traditional levels. Retail punters are now focusing their attention on the holiday season.

The trade has expressed plenty of reasons why the retail market has slowed down, but the most important one is the new registration system due in September.

The majority of the public I have spoken to over the past few months about this issue didn't know there was a new system due, let alone what impact it would have on their pockets now or in the future.

Many people in the trade are also uncertain as to the impact the new registration system would have on the retail market and also on the values of vehicles with the old plate. Some of them are still unaware about what format it is going to be in.

The past few years have been a gigantic learning curve for many dealers and the introduction of the new plate system is set to educate even more – and probably erase some past traditions.

Demand for good retailable people carriers is increasing with diesel variants often having a pre-sold order. Ford Galaxy, Volkswagen Sharan, Seat Alhambra, especially the 110bhp derivatives, and Chrysler Voyager seem to be the most favoured.

These, naturally, must have six or seven seats to retail successfully.

Private buyers are still paying strong money for three-year-old ex-lease models with less than 70,000 miles, that often have a retail price of £10,495 or less.

This is generating hype in the trade with high values being achieved at auction, causing a significant value difference between petrol and diesels. As with most other cars, though, the ones in average condition are often cast aside as refurbishment costs can be high.

Petrol variants still sell but private buyers tend to select a people carrier because of running costs as well as necessity.

Another sector of the market that is enjoying high attention is 4x4s. Vauxhall Frontera, Mitsubishi Shogun, Jeep Cherokee, Land Rover Freelander and Discovery are finding favour with the trade and retail buyers alike.

Again, these must be diesel, highly equipped and accompanied by a main dealer service history. They are a similar story to the people carrier because, although sales are driven by desirability, people still want the lowest possible running costs.

Some of the big V8 models are being converted to more efficient, environmentally friendly LPG in an attempt to lure buyers into what are widely viewed as gas-guzzlers.

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