Pre-registrations on the rise, VRA warns

Pre-registrations are returning to the new car market in a noticeable manner with further rises expected towards the end of the year as the rush to get rid of non-RDE2 cars rises.

Although pre-registrations had declined over the last few years, they’re now on the rise again according to both Cazana and ASE Global

That was the message to members of the Vehicle Remarketing Association at the organisation’s July member meeting.

Speakers Mike Jones, chair of ASE Global, and Rupert Pontin, insight director at Cazana, both said in their presentations that late-month registration activity was on the rise.

Jones said: “There is little question that pre-regs are back. Over the last few years, that kind of activity had declined in a fairly dramatic fashion, especially with the shortages of some models that followed WLTP.

“However, that has changed. There is now a lot of registration activity going on towards the end of each month. It’s yet another sign of the difficulties surrounding the new car market.”

Pontin added that it was likely that the problem would become more acute later in 2019 as there was a race to dispose of non-RDE2 cars. New models must be compliant from January 2020 and all cars from January 2021.

“While there is still a little time before RDE2 becomes compulsory across the board, models meeting the standard are going to start appearing in larger numbers quite soon and manufacturers will want to move on the old stock.

“Simply because of the new car sales fall over the last 18 months or so, coupled with stockpiling because of Brexit, there is a lot of unsold metal around. The temptation to pre-register is very high and perhaps irresistible.”

And while Sam Watkins, chair at the VRA, acknowledged that pre-registering is a “safety valve for a new car sector that is suffering from a combination of negative factors”, she highlighted the uncertainty it brings to the used sector, especially surrounding nearly new residual values.

“We expect it to be a subject that grows in importance for our members into 2020,” Watkins added.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.