Huge number plate changes to be unveiled within weeks as drivers could save thousands

A man screwing on a number plate

Number plates changes will be introduced on September 1

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 08/08/2023

- 12:52

Major licence plate changes could see forecourts cutting prices on older cars

Number plate changes are set to be introduced in a matter of weeks, with experts offering advice to drivers on how to get a good deal.

On September 1, the new “73” plate will be unveiled for all new cars registered following the “23” plate in March.

This follows a number of changes that were made to the plates in recent years, making them more durable and easier for Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras to scan.

The new standard – “BS AU 145e” – outlines that all plates must be made from a reflective material, not have a background pattern and be marked to show who supplied the plate.

A personalised number plate

The number plate regulations have been in force since 2001


It must display black characters on a white background for the front plate and black characters on a yellow background for the rear plate.

The current vehicle registration number format has remained unchanged since 2001, with all standard number plates following the same regulations.

This consists of two letters referring to the region where it was first registered, two numbers when it was issued, and three letters chosen at random.

Drivers can buy personalised number plates, with the DVLA selling specific number plates at auctions which take place multiple times a year.

When new number plates are released, the car market sees a boost in interest with “new reg day” as motorists look to buy a brand new car.

Experts from The Motor Ombudsman are urging drivers to look around at some of the best deals on offer for cars with new plates, as well as vehicles with the “old” number plate as forecourts look to get rid of stock, potentially saving thousands of pounds.

Drivers are advised to spend time doing research online and visiting showrooms before making a big purchase as the choice of models and fuel types will be more varied.

The Motor Ombudsman also urges drivers to read the paperwork properly and make sure they are not being ripped off.

This applies to the order form, any invoices and deposits, which are often not refundable once they have been paid.

Electric vehicles are also becoming more popular, with plenty of interest expected in the coming years, especially on “new reg day”.

For those looking at EVs, the experts advise speaking to other owners to see whether the vehicle they are looking at suits their needs regarding range and price.

Drivers should also be prepared to wait for any deliveries, with global supply chain issues still playing havoc with new petrol, diesel and electric vehicles.

Bill Fennell, Chief Ombudsman and managing director of The Motor Ombudsman, said: “A brand new car is, for many, a significant financial commitment, even more so at a time when there are ever-increasing pressures on household budgets.


An ANPR camera

ANPR cameras are better at reading new plates


“With electric vehicles gaining prominence in terms of ownership, and with more new entrants coming into the market this year, there is an increasing choice of models available alongside hybrids and petrol and diesel-only models.

“Well-founded purchase decisions to get the right car are therefore more important than ever.”

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