‘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 1 st , 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 people, 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.”
Walker leads the team responsible for ensuring each of Motorpoint’s 18 stores nationwide has the perfect selection of vehicles to meet the demands of local car buyers. The results of the survey will help the team fine-tune the stock mix at each of Motorpoint store.
And Walker says his team will take the learnings of the survey on board after it confirmed the impact the cost-of-living crisis has already had on the decision-making process.
He said: “If you’d asked me six months ago what the biggest drivers were for potential customers, I’d have told you with absolute certainty that purchase price was head and shoulders above everything else, with make, model, colour and ‘spec the next biggest decision-making drivers. That’s why Motorpoint guarantees it will never be beaten on price.
“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.
“But it isn’t just the case that everyone’s now looking at EV. We’re seeing lots of interest across all fuel types and in particular diesel, where people recognise the superior fuel economy it can offer on long journeys for example.”