What you should take into account before deciding whether to go 142 or 151
* Motoring Editor Eddie Cunningham lists the pros and cons of mid-summer buying now that 'Factor 13' is out of the way
Second time around should be easier for buyers and sellers.
The July plate change last year had relatively few teething troubles and surprised us with the volume of purchases.
But there was always the superstition of 'Factor 13'.
A percentage of potential buyers did not want those numbers on their car. Ford's Eddie Murphy admitted that later in the year. I think he was 100pc right. At least that is one of the 'unspoken' reasons for not buying in 2013, out of the way for this year.
Fingers crossed (I'm not superstitious) there is also a perceptible improvement in consumer confidence. And judging by enquires to Motors, that has more people thinking about changing their cars – to a new or newer model. However, there has been no major surge; rather a low-key steady level of activity.
There is also a growing need for many car owners to change up now or face the prospect of not being able to bridge the gap to a new/newer car in the near future.
Driving the possibility of trading up is the amount and variety of finance out there. It has been a long time since there were so many ways of coming up with the cash for your car. Make sure you check out the advice on finance, expertly outlined and detailed by our Personal Finance Editor Charlie Weston elsewhere in this supplement. And we give an idea of what is on offer elsewhere on this page.
And so, with all those factors at play in the background, what key elements should influence your decision to buy or not this July?
Here are some of the reasons for buying – and some against.
* Distributors and dealers learned the value of mid-summer deals last year. Most are better prepared this year and, as our roundup on Pages 2 and 3 shows, virtually all have some sort of a deal to entice you to go 142 instead of 151.
* Factor in reduced prices, added spec, lower interest costs and the overall packages out there can be persuasive in terms of real money saved. It is easy to compute substantial savings over what would normally have applied. Just check the small print on finance deals.
* Lots of cars have been upgraded and revised for mid-year. That can be significant if they get decent extra equipment, cleaner engines (lower road tax and VRT) etc. Even tweaked looks (grille, bumpers, rear light cluster etc) will count as a plus when you come to trade-in.
* Of course there will be deals in January too, but maybe not quite as good as now because demand for cars will be higher and there may not be the same pressure to do deals so early in the year.
* The feedback we're getting suggests some people really like the idea of having the summer to think about, and plan, buying in July. They feel less rushed than after Christmas – and the weather is better (we hope).
* You still have six months in a new car
* Your trade-in may be worth that bit more now than it will be in January when it will be calculated as being a year older and its value will be calculated accordingly. You could be talking several hundred euro of a difference.
* At least you will have '15' on your plate for a full year if you wait, as opposed to just six months with '14'.
* There will be newer, fresher cars in January and February.
* There will be tempting deals for 151 registrations too.
* Waiting until February or March could yield rich dividends as dealers will be anxious to keep up market share after the initial January rush.
* The 151 car will be worth more as a trade-in over the next few years.
* There may be even better finance options on the market
Ultimately, the advice is to judge every deal on its individual merits. Just remember that distributors and dealers need to sell big numbers this July to hold on to market share and keep momentum. They will not want to let you out the door knowing you could be heading down the road to a competitor.
However, as a buyer you need to weigh up not just the financial and spec advantages but how you feel about the dealer and the back-up there is for you.
Buying a car is about more than mere money. It is about confidence in the person you buy from and the knowledge that they have the capability to look after you properly in the years after purchase.
Here's the deal: what the leading car makers are doing to finance your summer purchase
Have several 0pc APR higher-purchase offers
Have 'Inspiration' sales promotion for cars ordered now up to the end of July. The key element is a special low PCP rates (as little as 2.9pc APR).
Complimentary leather on best-selling 1-series models. The X1 has leather upholstery and Business navigation; the 316 saloon also has leather upholstery, sports steering wheel added as well as Business navigation. Their finance arm, BMW Select, have APR rates from 4.90pc.
They have Elect 3 PCP finance with 0pc APR on some vehicles for a limited period.
Claim they have car deals that will cost you from €99/month.
Have several 0pc APR higher-purchase offers
Their 'Options' offers include a fixed rate APR of 4.9pc on Fiesta Zetec, B-MAX and Focus Edition. They have 5.9pc fixed APR on all cars and 3.0pc fixed on commercials except Transit Connect and Ford Ranger.
Their 142 Swappage deal embraces trade-ins on 2004–2008 cars. It's an extra €1,500 trade-in allowance on a new Fiesta, Focus, B-MAX or C-MAX.
They are promoting their new 'Honda Now' PCP finance packages which include Jazz from €199, Civic from €259, Accord from €399 and CR-V from €369.
Anyone ordering a new car before June 30 gets five years' free servicing.
Have a 142-reg offer of 0pc finance on cee'd and Rio on HP and will be at 4.9pc on everything else.
They have the new MINI hatch diesel from €199/month. They are making a 'deposit contribution' of up to €2,000 for the Countryman
They're starting a new PCP deal on July 1, initially for the A-Class and B-Class.
Three years free servicing, warranty and roadside assist on all cars registered before July.
They are offering a five-year warranty and finance packages from 4.9pc APR on all models.
Some models get €500 free fuel, 3.9pc APR finance option or 6.9pc PCP. All Peugeot cars have a five-year warranty as standard.
The 208 and 2008 will cost €159 and €209 a month respectively on PCP. They also get the €500 free fuel.
The 308 costs from €245/month with 3.9pc APR finance.
Say you can get a car from €165/month if ordered before June 30.
They also have five years unlimited mileage warranty, five years servicing and one year tax.
Have a 1.42pc finance plan on HP and PCP deals and three years free road tax on all models for a specific period.
Have HP rates of 1.42pc APR across their range. Anyone using this finance gets three-years free servicing.
Running their 10,000km 'Free Fuel' promotion for Swift and Alto ranges and some S-Cross models. It runs until July 31.
All their models come with a bonus of up to €1,500 for July.
Have brought in price reductions on a number of models.