Lucky ‘131’ number plates could boost car sales

The new vehicle number plate format appears to be having some positive effect on local motor sales – although it is early days.

The new vehicle number plate format appears to be having some positive effect on local motor sales – although it is early days.

From this January on, all new cars bought in Ireland will have a new number plate. Instead of ‘13-KK’, the new registrations will read ‘131-KK’ for the first part of the year, and ‘132-KK’ for the second.

On the second day of trading this year, Derek Jordan (pictured right), sales manager at local Volkswagen and Skoda dealership Laharts, said business had thus far been positive.

“It is something that should have been done a long time ago, so it is welcolme,” he said.

“We are ahead on orders for 2013 when compared to the same time last year. But it will be hard to know for sure until the end of the month.”

The new format plate will be in place each year from now on.

Alan Nolan, the director general of SIMI, said there had been a lot of interest from the public in the new number plate, but agreed that it was early days yet.

“Only time will tell what impact the new plate might have on sales, but we expect demand to increase when we begin to see new cars on the road,” he said.

The SIMI last week realeased new car sales figures for 2012. New car sales are down 12% on 2011, while December sales were down 15% on December in 2011.

“Last year, customers were incentivised to purchase their new car in December in order to avail of the lower VAT rate (VAT was increased in the last Budget) so this would certainly have impacted on the reduction in sales in December,” said Mr Nolan.

“The motor industry is often used as a barometer for the economy and we hope, with consumer confidence seeing some slight pick up, combined with the new number plate, that interest will grow in the coming weeks.”