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NFDA 27/02/2023

  • New cars registered from 1 March onwards will display the new ‘23 plate’
  • Trade body for franchised dealers offers consumer guidance to buying their new EV or ICE vehicle


New cars registered from (1 March) onwards will display the new ‘23’ plate. The number plate system works as follows: the first two letters correspond to where the car is registered in the country, LA to LY for London, and MA to MY for Manchester, for example. The next two numbers signify in which six-monthly period the car was registered: 70 for September 2020, and 21 for March 2021, 71 for September 2021, 22 for March 2022, 72 for September 2022, 23 for March 2023 and so on. September’s digits will be 73. The last three letters are random.

Sue Robinson, Chief Executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), says: “Visiting your franchised dealer to buy your next car, will offer you the opportunity to ask questions and receive guidance to ensure that you find the vehicle which best suits your driving and lifestyle needs.”


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 check-list before and after purchase to make sure you have not overlooked the obvious:

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

If you 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: “Electric Vehicles are steadily becoming the driving force of the industry, as Government seeks to meet their net-zero targets and consumers are becoming more environmentally conscious. If you are looking to purchase an EV, remember to visit an Electric Vehicle Approved (EVA) retailer - the leading experts in electric vehicle retailer in the UK.

“EVA 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.

“An EV Approved 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 highly qualified EV technicians to support your aftersales needs”.

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?


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.


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.


Sue Robinson, NFDA Chief Executive, concluded: “The car buying experience goes beyond the vehicle purchase at a dealership. Your new car will eventually need to be serviced and it is imperative that you return to a reputable dealer to carry out this work. Franchised dealers will be able to advise you on the type of service you need, and mitigate any potential problems your car may have before they arise, or become serious.”

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About the RMI

The Retail Motor Industry represents the interests of operators in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man providing sales and services to motorists and businesses. The RMI has a formal association with the independent Scottish Motor Trade Association which represents the retail motor industry in Scotland.