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Poor public awareness risk new plate sale potential

It is now only a matter of days until the new registration plate format comes into effect. However new car advertising incorporating the new identifiers has been conspicuous by its absence.

The '51' representing the car's age may be a number, but it shouldn't be too difficult to substitute the letters SI into a word to create interest within an advertisement.

The potential for a buying surge is definitely there, but if the public is not made aware of the changes then it may not happen. A little forethought to prepare your marketing will help to create an order bank.

Without advertising public awareness will remain low - until people see the plate on the road.

The knock-on effect of this would be twofold. First, it is unlikely that there will be prompt delivery, because new cars are not stockpiled as was the case in previous years.

Second, it will be more difficult to structure any stock control plan for the part exchanges. The lead time to pre-sell will be shorter and approaching October, used enquiries are likely to start to reduce.

Therefore caution will be needed when valuing, to take into account the time it may take to retail the car. But it is a balancing act as too much caution is unlikely to get the deal in the first place.

In the current used car market there has definitely been a slowdown in activity. Retail demand has eased back as the holiday season is in full swing.

It only takes a short time for retail slowdown to have an effect on trade activity, as buyers are only enthusiastically looking for prime, ready to retail stock. Anything else may find a home but the price differential between clean and average cars is continuing to widen.

The time it would take to prepare and recondition an average car would only have it landing on the forecourt in the middle of all the new car sales activity and an influx of part exchanges.

There is some good news as executive cars in the right spec and colour are performing particularly well.

In a recent sale BMW 3 Series coupe and 5 Series saloon and Touring attracted plenty of strong bidding. Supeminis also have some shining performers with Toyota Yaris and VW Polo high up the list for resale values.

In the late-plate arena many volume models are under pressure, with attainable prices appearing to move on a daily basis.

Once again it would appear that trade buyers are creating a large buffer to allow a premium for the new plate when early samples start to show in the used market.

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