NFDA OFFERS GUIDANCE TO CONSUMERS AHEAD OF ‘24 PLATE CHANGE

  • New cars registered from 1 March onwards will display the new ‘24 plate’.
  • Trade body for franchised dealers offers guidance to consumers buying their new EV or ICE vehicle.

NUMBER PLATE CHANGE

New cars registered from (1 March 2024) onwards will display the new ‘24’ plate. The number plate system works as follows:

  1. The first two letters correspond to where the car is registered in the country, for example, LA to LY for London, and MA to MY for Manchester.
  2. The next two numbers signify in which six-monthly period the car was registered:
  • 22 for March 2022, 72 for September 2022.
  • 23 for March 2023, 73 for September 2023.
  • 24 for March 2024 and 74 for September 2024.
  1. The last three letters are random.

Sue Robinson, Chief Executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), says:

“When you visit your franchised dealer to purchase your next car, you'll have the chance to ask questions and receive guidance, ensuring you find the vehicle that perfectly aligns with your driving habits and lifestyle requirements.”

LOOKING FOR A CAR

When searching for a car, there are several things to look out for. First of which, is to establish your budget. When comparing deals, use the on-the-road price which manufacturers advertise. This is made up of the basic ex-works price, value added tax, number plate, delivery charges, vehicle excise duty, and first registration fee.

Consumers should consider the following checklist before and after purchase to make sure they have not overlooked the obvious:

  • What type of car: hatchback, saloon, sports, estate, SUV (sports utility vehicle) or MPV (multi-purpose vehicle), coupe, convertible?
  • Do you require the car to carry goods or people or both?
  • Do you have children?
  • Automatic or manual?
  • How many doors?
  • Are you seeking to buy an electric vehicle (EV) or a traditional internal combustion engine (ICE)?

If consumers are considering buying an electric vehicle:

  • Where and how will I charge the vehicle?
  • Are there public charging stations near where I live, work or shop?

If you will opt for an Internal Combustion Engine vehicle:

  • Do you make long or short journeys?
  • Small engine for economy or larger engine for power?

Sue Robinson added: “With the implementation of the ZEV mandate in January, 22% of all new car sales in the UK this year must be zero-emissions, with the percentage gradually rising each year. This percentage target will reach 80% by 2030, and OEMs will be subject to penalties per non-compliant car.

“As such, the number of electric vehicles on our roads will continue to increase as the Government seeks to meet its net-zero targets.

“If you are looking to purchase an EV, remember to visit an NFDA Electric Vehicle Approved (EVA) retailer - the leading experts in electric vehicle retail in the UK.

“NFDA’s EVA scheme is endorsed by the Government’s Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) and the Energy Saving Trust (EST). It is the only scheme that provides an EV specific accreditation to retailers who meet a set of standards. Last year, NFDA’s EVA scheme surpassed the milestone of 500 accredited franchised dealer sites across the UK and is continuing to gather pace.

“An EVA retailer will be able to answer any questions you have relating to purchasing an electric vehicle, the latest range of EVs on the market and provide quality service with highly qualified EV technicians to support your aftersales needs.”

TEST DRIVE

Test drives are the best opportunity to test out a vehicle, when you test drive, check:

  • Is the seating position comfortable? Is there enough headroom? Can you see all the mirrors?
  • Can you adjust the seat or steering wheel?
  • Check bonnet, doors and boot
  • Road-handling, brakes, and steering
  • Are the seat belts working and comfortable?

If the car you have now tested and the advice, you have had from the dealer fulfils your requirements you will now feel more confident about buying the vehicle.

BUYING THE CAR

Before buying you should decide how to pay:

  • If you are able to pay upfront, you can pay by either cash or credit card, deals let you pay by instalments, spreading the cost over a number of years after which you can trade or keep the car.
  • Personal Contract Purchase (PCP): If you do not want to buy the vehicle outright you can lease it via PCP. You pay a deposit and then a fixed number of monthly repayments. Once the term is completed you either hand the car back or you can pay the final settlement payment and keep the car or use it as part exchange to buy a new car.
  • Hire Purchase (HP): With a Hire Purchase plan you pay the deposit upfront and spread the cost of the car over a fixed period. You do not own the vehicle until the final payment is made. Monthly repayments tend to be higher than PCP.
  • Personal Contract Hire (PCH) is a type of long-term rental that will suit you if you are not looking to buy the car at the end of your contract and will not need to change the car before the end of the contract. You lease the car for an agreed period of time by making fixed monthly payments. When the contract expires, you simply return your car.

Buying a new car is exciting and by asking yourself the right questions you will make your experience even more enjoyable. Thanks to informative dealer and manufacturer dedicated magazines, as well as videos and reviews, you have access to a lot of useful information before you make the first visit to a dealership to look at and test drive a car. Alternatively, just visit your franchised dealer and ask all the questions you may have.

Remember, it is not just about the car, it is about a car you can live with:

  • Is your garage big enough?
  • Confirm insurance class and area cost.
  • Understand fully the deposit terms, conditions of sale, any finance agreement including interest charge, and the trade-in price on your existing car and how long that price can be maintained.
  • Warranty terms – will there be restrictions?

AFTER BUYING

Sue Robinson concluded: “The journey of purchasing a car extends beyond the initial transaction at the dealership. Once your new vehicle requires servicing, it is crucial to rely on a trusted dealer for this maintenance. Franchised dealers are equipped to offer guidance on the necessary service your car requires, pre-emptively addressing any potential issues to prevent them from becoming serious problems.”