What happens when new registration plates come out?

Last updated by mustard.co.uk on April 6th, 2021

New registration plates come out in the UK twice a year, at the beginning of March and at the beginning of September.

This system for vehicle registration plates has been in operation since 2000. To find out more about how the UK licence plate system works click here.

Do sales increase when new licence plates come out?

The general answer is yes and if we look at new car registrations in 2016 you can see that was the case.

In 2016, almost 500,000 new cars were registered in September when the plate change was introduced. It was the highest September on record with the new 66-plate driving sales, according to the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

In March, new vehicle registrations grew by 5.3 per cent compared to the previous year, making it the best month ever for car sales in 20 years and since the introduction of the twice-yearly registration plates.

So not only do new registrations increase sales of new cars compared to other months in the year, they’re also growing in popularity year-on-year.

Should you wait for the new licence plate before buying a new car?

There is a surge in new car purchases in March and September when new registration plates are released, but does that mean it’s better to wait for new registration plates before buying your next car?

There are two main considerations when it comes to buying your new car and its registration plate.

The first is that generally dealers will offer cheaper deals and discounts on vehicles with old registration plates in the lead up to the licence plate change. If you don’t mind having an ‘old’ plate then it’s a good idea to shop around in February and August as there could be deals to be had.

The other consideration concerns the value of your car and the impact a licence plate has on it when you come to sell it on.

Newer cars will generally sell for a higher price. So, if you buy a car in February with a September plate it’s going to be worth less than the same car with a March plate, even if it was bought just a few days before the new licence plate was introduced.

Do insurance quotes ramp up around new registration plate dates?

We’ve looked at new car sales and the impact new registration plates have on them, but do new licence plates impact insurance quotes in the same way?

The answer is no, based on quote data from mustard.co.uk since the beginning of 2016, the number of insurance quotes does not ramp up around the new registration plate release dates.

So, if your considering changing your car when the next new plates are released or if you’re looking for that deal pre the new plate release it’s worth checking out the cost of insurance for the car you’ve got your eye on and we can help you. Compare insurance quotes online or if you prefer to quote over the phone just call 0330 0220 8814 and one of the team will be happy to help you.

Other related articles that you might be interested in

Everything you need to know about private registration plates
Registration plates and your car insurance

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