Major number plate changes launching today could see car values drop 'as much as 60 per cent'

Major number plate changes launching today could see car values drop 'as much as 60 per cent'

WATCH: Richard Holden hosts last number plate auction

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 01/03/2024

- 07:00

'There's always a rush for people to get their hands on the latest plate'

New number plate changes will be rolled out to vehicle forecourts today as experts warn drivers looking to sell their cars potentially losing out on substantial value.

From today, March 1, drivers will be able to get their hands on a new vehicle with a “24” identifier on the number plate.

This is in line with regulations first introduced in 2001, meaning two new number plate identifiers are introduced every year.

The second number plate update will come in September when the “74” will be rolled out.

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Number plate

New number plate changes will be launched today


Experts have warned drivers that they could see the value of their car drop when new number plates run out, as they make cars seem “older” than they really are.

Car values generally decrease year-on-year as a result of wear-and-tear, mileage and general age.

Newer cars will be more expensive while the price of cars that are a few years older will become cheaper, with the number plate acting as a key identifier of age.

Any potential buyer, and any car dealer or forecourt, will know that cars with number plate identifiers like “23”, “73” and “24” will be younger.

Darryl Bowman, from Cuvva, said: “When it comes to number plate changes, there's always a rush for people to get their hands on the latest plate.

“But there are opportunities to score deals on slightly older cars with the older plates. If you're contemplating selling your car, doing so before the new plates are released could net you a higher price.

“While if you're in the market to buy a new car, waiting for the new plates may result in a better price, as the current ones become one plate older."

He said that the value of new cars typically drops by around 10 per cent when they leave the showroom, followed by another 10 or 20 per cent drop before the first year has passed.

By the third year, the average car will have lost around 60 per cent of its value before depreciation levels out, Bowman said.

Recent data suggested that many drivers were unaware of what the letters and numbers on a licence plate represent.

More than a third of motorists said they did not know what the letters meant while almost 30 per cent said they didn’t know the purpose of the third and fourth digits.

A standard UK registration plate is made up of two letters which refer to the region where the vehicle was first registered, followed by two numbers denoting when the plate was issued and finally three letters chosen at random.


Number plate

The number plate system of two letters, two numbers and three letters was launched in 2001 ​


This means a number plate reading “SA23 ZYX” shows that a vehicle was first registered in Glasgow after March 2023.

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