New-reg cars: buying guide and latest deals

Save thousands on 19-plate models with the best deals on new-reg cars and all you need to know about the new number plate

BuyaCar team
Mar 6, 2019

The new 19-reg number plate is here and so is your chance to pick up the keys to your next car.

Twice a year, the standard two digits that appear on every new car's number plate are changed, which triggers a surge of sales. Buyers are keen to have the new plate and manufacturers ramp up their efforts to get your business. 

Many models can come with either no-deposit or 0% APR finance, with the likes of BMW, Ford and Nissan offering some of their ranges with rock-bottom finance deals. It’s no wonder that nearly half a million new cars have been sold in the UK every March since 2015.

That's a lot of new-reg cars arriving on the roads, but it’s not all plain sailing for the motor industry. The tempestuous political climate and fall in the popularity of diesel mean that car sales are very much down year-on-year. This can work as an advantage for anyone looking to buy a new 19-plate car.

Key to finding the best car for you is understanding your options. As a buyer you can pick from in-stock cars, which have been built and waiting for their first owner, or factory orders that are made to your exact specification.

Alternatively, you might make bigger savings with a pre-registered car fitted with the previous 68-plate. In many cases, these are a thrifty motorist’s gold mine: virtually brand new with a number plate from the previous period and a dealership listed as their first owner.

While March is largely a buyers market for cars, that's not the case across the industry. Changed emissions test legislation has led to a drop in the supply of certain cars while manufacturers get them retested. Many cars are unaffected, but there are cases where demand for more popular models outstrips supply.

When are new reg cars sold in Britain?

New reg cars are released in six month periods here in the UK. The first six months begins on 1 March and the second on 1 September. Number plates fitted to new cars from March to August feature the last two numbers of the year (19 this March) sandwiched in between five letters. For example, XX19 XXX.

Number plates issued from September to February use the last two numbers of the year plus fifty. Come September 2019, the 69-plate will be released.


Options for buying a new-reg car

Discounts, free equipment, deposit contributions and low-rate finance are all common incentives March and September buyers can enjoy. Fortunately, these apply across the entire market, so it doesn’t matter if you're interested in a small car or a seven-seater, the chances are that you can snaffle a bargain. You can also choose between getting a car straight away or ordering one to your personal specification:

  • In-stock new reg deals 
    The best way of getting a 19-plate quickly is to buy a car that has already been built and in stock at a dealership. Most manufacturers have plenty of these in-stock vehicles ready for delivery – often at a bargain price. To save time, you can send BuyaCar a request with details of the car that you're looking for to check availability.
  • Build a new reg car to order
    New reg car incentives are available for new car factory orders too, where you can select the exact specification you're looking for. You'll normally need to wait several weeks for the vehicle to arrive though, so it's unlikley that you'll be among the first to have the new registration plate.


19-reg car deals

The year has started with declining new car sales, so the motor industry is hoping that a successful March will reverse that trend. That's why there are big discounts on brand new cars that are built to your specification. 

You can configure your ideal car to see how much you could save by clicking below.


0% finance 19-reg car deals

Around 20 manufacturers are offering 0% APR finance on brand new cars at the moment, making monthly instalments more affordable, as there's no interest to pay.

You may be able to combine a 0% finance deal with other savings, but often you'll find that the biggest discounts are reserved for buyers who take out finance which charges interest.

Every finance quote should include the total amount that's payable, so you can easily compare which offer is best for you, whether you're seeking to pay the least in the long run, or aiming for the lowest monthly instalments.

BMW, Ford, Jaguar, Nissan and Volkswagen are among the manufacturers currently running 0% APR finance promotions. Click below for the full list.


Pre-registered car deals

Dealerships often pre-register their own stock to hit sales targets. Effectively, this means they are buying their own stock, so any customer who buys a pre-reg car is, therefore, the second owner.

Pre-registered cars are sold on as ‘nearly new’ or ‘new-in stock’ and because they technically aren’t brand new, often come with a healthy discount. Buyers who are prepared to look past the fact they aren’t the first owner can save thousands.

It might sound like brands who sell fewer cars would be the only ones to pre-register vehicles, but that isn’t the case. You'll find pre-registered 2019 cars from Ford, Volkswagen, Mercedes and Skoda on BuyaCar and there are many many more.

Potential savings are at a peak when a new reg comes out. "Despite the deals on brand new cars, it’s usually cheaper to buy a nearly new car with an older number plate, even though they don’t always qualify for the same finance incentives," says Philip Nothard, retail and consumer specialist at cap hpi (which analyses the car market). 

"Nearly new cars have to be reduced in price to sit below attractive brand new car finance offers," he says.

The savings you make on a nearly new car won’t be cancelled out by a lower second-hand value, so car finance options should be competitive. Some dealers have a minimum time they are required to keep a pre-registered car in stock for. If you are lucky, they will become sick of the sight of certain cars and drop the price further in an effort to find a buyer quickly.


New cars for 19-reg

An all-new car with the brand new number plate is hard to resist for some drivers, so you can expect recently-launched models to arrive in their droves now that the 19-plate has arrived.

The latest Audi A1 (shown above) is one popular model that is likely to sell in large volumes, as is the larger and taller Q3 family sport utility vehicle (SUV). Both have just gone on sale, and you can already secure a discount.

BMW's new 3 Series is expected to sell strongly this Spring, as is the large Mercedes GLE SUV.

There are plenty of less costly family options, such as the new Citroen C5 Aircross and Seat Tarraco.

Much smaller, but even more capable off road is the quirky Suzuki Jimny.

You can see a more comprehensive list of new cars in our best new cars of 2019 guide.


New-reg dates

The new registration plates appear on March 1 and September 1 each year. The middle two numbers in the sequence change each time. Since March 1, the numbers have been 19. From September 1, the digits will become 69.


How many new-reg cars are on the road?

It doesn't take long for a new number plate to lose its exclusivity. Last year, there were 474,069 new cars registered in March, and the figure this year could once more be close to half a million


Is it cheaper to buy a new-reg car?

It’s often cheaper to buy a brand new car in March or September because there are so many deals available.

“September and March are very good times to go out and buy a new car because dealers are focused on having a good month for sales,” says Philip Nothard,.


Ending finance early to get a new-reg car

If you currently have a personal contract purchase (PCP) agreement and your car is worth more than the amount that you owe, then it’s likely that you’ll be able to switch to a new model without any penalty. You should speak to your lender to discuss your options.

If you owe more than the car is worth, or you have a personal lease (PCH), then there is likely to be an additional cost to ending your finance early.



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