New registration plates guide

The new registration plates for September 2012 are on the way, replacing the current 12 plates with a 62 plate.

Registration plates can confuse some people, but when you break it down, it is very simple.

In March and September each year there are new registration plates released, the March plates representing the year (12) and the September plates being represented simply by a number that goes up each September, currently at 61.

The second digit in the September plates represents the year. For example, in September last year the new plates were 61 plates, which were replaced by plates in March 2012 this year, 12 plates. This means that the new plates for September this year are 62 plates.

It is worth noting that a car that is given one of the new plates is not necessarily an off-the-production-line model, it is a model that is being put on the road for the first time. This ultimately means a car could be given a new 62 plate, but be 40 years old if it has never been registered – although this is extremely unlikely.

But what is in a licence plate?

As licence plates can become a valuable commodity on a car, especially if it is personalised, they can sometimes be a big selling point. However, as the new plates for March 2013 will be the 13 plate, some superstitious people may back out of buying them.

In fact, The Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) believes over 5,000 people may choose not to buy the new plates because of the unlucky number 13.

To battle this problem, a new rule has been introduced that allows drivers to request the 62 plate on new cars in March next year, eliminating the dreaded 13 dilemma.

The choice of 62 plates may mean that residual value for certain cars will be increased as the vehicle will not be burdened with the number 13.

Having a car with new plates is always a plus when it comes to reselling, even if you sell a few years later, as the newer the plates, the shorter time the vehicle has been on the road.

Another thing to consider when buying new plates is to buy the last plate released just before a new plate release is due, as it will be cheaper. For example, if you buy a model with March 12 plates just before September 2012, it could cost less because dealerships are trying to shift older stock to make way for the new plates.

Below are a few new releases from the last couple of months, all models you may consider buying with either the latest 12 plates or the upcoming 62 plates.

Citroen DS5

The Citroen DS5 is by far one of the hottest new releases on the market as its slick but unusual body style has added a completely new appeal to the large family/estate segment.

Along with its dome-like roof and sporty body contours, the Citroen DS5 delivers in terms of executive feel and efficiency.

Standard equipment on the entry level DS5 D Sign model includes cruise control, air conditioning, keyless entry and start, plus Hybrid4 engine availability.

Citroen has recently made its frugal Hybrid4 engine available across each trim and it offers one of the world’s first diesel powertrains, which delivers low CO2 emissions of just 99g/km – making it road tax exempt.

Citroen DS5 prices start from just £22,400.

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Peugeot 208

The 208 supermini has helped Peugeot secure a foot hold in the younger car buyer market as its high specification levels; low price and sporty exterior are synonymous with the younger demographic.

As it has recently secured the Best Supermini Class award from automotive experts AutoExpress, the 208 has nicely burrowed in to the supermini segment and is ready to compete with lucrative models like the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa.

Competing won’t be a problem as it offers streaked body contours with a distinctive front grille, giving it a stylish edge, plus it features a low 87g/km 1.4-litre diesel powertrain. This diesel engine also returns up to 83.1mpg.

Peugeot 208 prices start from just £9,995.

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Vauxhall Ampera

The Vauxhall Ampera is one of two new Extended Range Electric Vehicles (E-REV) on the road, the other being the Chevrolet Volt.

The Ampera’s E-REV [powertrain runs off both electrical energy and a petrol engine. The Ampera initially runs on electric power, just like an electric car, but when power runs out a 1.4-litre petrol engine kicks in to recharge the electric battery.

With its E-REV powertrain, the Ampera emits just 27g/km and can travel up to 310 miles.

Standard equipment on the entry level Earth trim includes 17-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, and Bluetooth connectivity.

Vauxhall Ampera prices start from just £29,995 (after the government grant).

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Renault Fluence

The Fluence is the markets very first electric (EV) saloon model.

The Fluence joins the Twizy, Kangoo van and soon to be released Zoe in Renault’s electric Z.E. range.

As the Fluence is an EV it emits zero tailgate emissions with the use of a 100 per cent electric powertrain that delivers 226Nm of torque and 70kW of power.

The Fluence is also competitively priced at £17,850 (before battery leasing costs) which means it will deliver stiff competition to lucrative saloon segment dwellers like the Vauxhall Insignia and Ford Mondeo.

The high quality standard equipment also gives the Fluence a great fighting chance in the market as it includes climate control, cruise control, on-board computer, satellite navigation and steering wheel mounted controls.

Renault Fluence prices start from just £17,850 (before battery leasing costs).

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Alfa Romeo MiTo TwinAir

Even without the addition of the new TwinAir engine derivative, the Alfa Romeo is a desirable model.

As with the bigger Giulietta model in Alfa’s range, the MiTo offers a unique sporty appeal with strong bonnet contours that give it a sloped nose like front end.

However, desirability is definitely enhanced with the MiTo TwinAir as it emits just 98g/km and returns up to 67.3mpg. The TwinAir engine option is available on two of the MiTo’s trim levels, which include the Sprint and Distinctive.

Equipment on the Sprint trim includes cruise control, climate control, 16-inch alloy wheels and Alfa’s multi-mode D.NA system.

Alfa Romeo MiTo TwinAir prices start from just £14,150.

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