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‘Instant used cars’ created for sale as dealers struggle to hit September registration targets

68 plate cars appeared as second-hand quicker than usual

‘Instant used cars’ created for sale as dealers struggle to hit September registration targets

New 68 plate cars have flooded the market for sale as second-hand vehicles as dealers struggled to meet September registration targets.

Online motor retail specialist reports that within days of the September 18 plate launch, hundreds of brand new cars were turned into ‘instant used cars’ for sale on its site.

Although pre-registered vehicles commonly appear during the same month as a new plate’s release, analysts reported that the 68 plate was unusually quick to appear as a used car.

As the number of brand new ‘used cars’ grows, it is likely that heavy discounts are on the way, promising bargains for buyers.

A new registration plate always brings touch new car sale targets for dealers from car makers, but last month market conditions were unusually difficult.

Two new problems squeezed dealers last month – a general reduction in new car sales during 2018, plus the effect of a ‘fire sale’ in the previous month which tempted thousands of customers to buy a new car in August instead of waiting for the new plate.

As reported in August, prices on some cars were slashed by more than 35 per cent to clear out stock that would not meet new emissions rules introduced on September 1.

Dealers now report that many customers who would normally have waited to buy in September, for the prestige of owning the brand new plate, were tempted to snap up a bargain in August – leaving them desperately short of new car customers last month.

Anecdotal reports of an unusually busy August – when the market is traditionally quiet – were borne out with the revelation by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders that new car sales were up by almost a quarter, compared to August 2017.

But the market for the year overall has been tough for dealers, with sales overall down by more than four per cent.

Despite this, pressure continues to be applied by car makers on their dealer networks to keep growing sales and the easiest way to boost the numbers is to register the cars before there are buyers.

It is many of these cars that found their way into the market as used cars as early as the first week in September. managing director Austin Collins said: “We always see cars being registered by dealers before there is a customer to buy them, but what has been unusual this year is how quickly this has happened in a new plate month.

“It is no exaggeration to describe what we saw at the beginning of September as the creation of instant used cars, in some cases with just a few delivery miles on them, so that dealers could have a fighting chance of meeting the month’s sales targets.”

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