Why it's stick or twist time for buyers of 181-reg cars
This can be a strange, slightly agonising time of the year for new car buyers.
They are faced with a simple question, do they go for one of the many special April deals and get a 181-reg, or is it more prudent to hang on and wait until July for a sparkling new motor with a 182-plate?
Many people who can't afford a new vehicle would say it is a nice problem to have.
But, at the same time, there could be hundreds of euro at stake.
Relatively speaking, the window to buy is narrow enough now - nearly mid-April - if you are going to get reasonable value from your purchase.
There are several pros and cons to be weighed up - every buyer's case is different.
But here are a few of the more obvious reasons to stick or twist.
For buying now:
* There are some great deals and allowances in an extremely competitive market.
* The cost to change could be lower than in July if you get the right deal.
* Your own car - if you have a trade-in - is probably worth a bit more now than it might be in July because it will be a few months older.
* Dealers are under pressure to meet targets, so there may be a few extras to sweeten the deal. These all add up.
* You can plan your summer holidays with a key decision made. That is not meant to be funny. You would be surprised at how many people will not buy in July for that very reason.
* You get longer in an '18' reg than if you hold on. A minor matter but an influence for some, I'm told.
For buying later:
* There will inevitably be more scrappage deals and allowances announced, especially in the countdown to July as dealers make the most of what has become a tight selling aperture.
* Many of the 182-cars will have been boosted by additional equipment without major price hikes.
* Many will have been given a visual/technical overhaul as well. It was noticeable last year how many major revisions made it onto the market. While now strictly brand new cars, they are advances on existing models.
* You've got the long, free and (hopefully) warm evenings to sample and sift rather than rushing to do it on a wet Saturday in April.
The most important thing to do is shop around because there are lots of specific deals out there, and a little bit of research could save a tidy sum.