As the DVLA confirms that all cars registered between 1st March and 31st August 2013 will carry a 13 series number plate, the motor industry waits anxiously to see if superstition will slow sales.
It’s no secret that the number 13 is shrouded in a reputation of bad luck; but as car number plates bearing the inauspicious number are released on pre-order, prior to the official launch in March, car dealers question the potential effects that this could have on sales for the subsequent six months.
There has been plenty of speculation recently as to whether or not the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) would offer drivers the opportunity to substitute 13 registrations for a possible 62 plate alternative, but a recent announcement confirmed that number plates would follow the conventional format, regardless of the superstition surrounding this particular number.
So what’s the big problem? Will buyers really hold off from purchasing a new car purely because of a number on their registration plate? As is always the case with any contentious issue, it will come down to personal preference – but it is true that some buyers may prefer to wait until the next release in September 2013, giving them a 63 registration instead.
James Saperia from personalised number plate company Simply Registrations says: “While some people might avoid the 13 number plates, for others the number 13 could be just what they’ve been waiting for. Lots of options are opened up with combinations such as AL13 ERT, RO13 ERT and SU13 ARU all becoming available.”
So is the DVLA being audacious in ignoring the concerns of the motoring trade, or are the fears of a drop in sales unfounded? James comments: “Motorists who religiously change their cars every three years will have been looking forward to their upgrade and may choose go ahead regardless of the number on their registration plate, while others who may not be superstitious themselves could be concerned with resale values of cars carrying a 13 number plate. They may decide to hold off for 6 months before buying that new car in order to protect their investment. Then, of course, there are buyers who genuinely feel that the number 13 will bring them bad luck.”
Whether or not people decide to shun this number and refrain from buying new cars remains to be seen, but opinions remain divided as to the reasons behind DVLA’s decision. The cynics feel it may have been a calculated move to encourage motorists to buy a personalised registration, to get rid of the number 13 on their car’s registration plate – especially because DVLA recently reduced the price of its most affordable selections to £250 ahead of the 13 registrations launch. Others understand it to simply be a case of following form and retaining consistency. Wherever you stand on the argument, let’s hope for the car retailers’ sakes that sense will reign over superstition.
If you are planning on buying a car after the new registration comes into effect, attractive combinations of 13 registrations will be available to buy from the 4th of December 2012.
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