New 2018/2019 number plates: what you need to know

Did you know that opting for a pre-registered car could save you money? Get up to speed with AXA’s tips before purchasing a new set of wheels.

Tips & guides

6 November 2018

The 2018/19 licence plates were released on 1 September. Getting your hands on a '68' plate is a status symbol, as everyone will know that your car is brand spanking new.

However, it's estimated that British drivers could save up to £5,000 per purchase if they opt for a pre-registered '18' plate car.

So what's the difference between new and pre-registered, and how could it save you a little money in the long run?

What is a pre-registered car?

Pre-registered cars have been bought by a dealership so are technically secondhand, even though they've only clocked up a few miles. Although these cars are basically new, you won't have the same level of choice over the details – such as colour and wheel trims – but as dealerships try to sell what's left of old stock you could be in for a big saving.

Why do dealerships need to get rid of '18' stock?

There's a more pressing reason than dwindling demand as the '68' plates arrive – although of course that plays a role, too. From 1 September, new cars will have to comply with tougher emissions checks before being sold as new. Since cars from earlier this year may not necessarily fit that, dealers have been scrambling to pre-register them before the deadline so that they can still sell them on.

What are the new emission tests?

The two new tests are the WLTP (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure) and RDE (Real Driving Emissions), which complement each other to ensure the car is road worthy. These are replacing the old test, the NEDC (New European Driving Cycle), which has been used since 1996.

How do the tests work?

The WLTP test takes place in a lab, but the results mimic the real world better than the NEDC. This is because it uses several test cycles instead of the previous two (urban and extra urban) and tests factors like maximum speed and power-to-weight ratio.

The tougher RDE test does take place on real terrain, with a Portable Emissions Measuring (PEMS) device fitted to the car's exhaust pipe. As this test takes into account factors that can't be tested in a lab, such as different driving styles and traffic conditions, it is more of a challenge for manufacturers to pass.

If you're in the market for a car, opting for a pre-registered car could save you a serious amount of money. Remember it's a buyer's market right now, so make sure to shop around to get the best car – and deal – to suit your needs.

Time is precious. Let us save yours.

We get it, keeping on top of life admin can be tricky – especially when you’re juggling loads of commitments at once. With AXA car insurance, it’s easy to get the tailorable protection you need, giving you more time to focus on ticking another task of your to-do list.