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Money & Rights

Time to buy a new car

With the new registration out this month, Teri Harman looks at the best way to buy a brand-new car

MANY DRIVERS hanker after a personalised numberplate, but another option would be to buy a new car between September and next March and acquire a registration that includes the iconic number 66.

The number is significant in British history, with the Norman Conquest (1066), Great Fire of London (1666), and – in living memory so perhaps even more momentous – England winning the football World Cup (1966).

According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) more than half a million of us took advantage of the plate change in March and bought new cars, and there was a 26.8 per cent increase in the registration of hybrid and electric cars as drivers seek to reduce emissions and running costs (see case study). September may see even more people opt for a brand-new car.

What to buy?

If you have had a reliable car for some time, it is tempting (and not a bad idea) to go for a new model from the same manufacturer. However, there is a bewildering choice beyond the familiar, with hundreds of models to choose from.

Once you have decided what type of car you want – small hatchback, family saloon, SUV, 4x4, for example – specialist magazines such as What Car? or a website like ( list all the options in each category. Usefully, they also list the recommended retail price and a ‘target’ price which they believe is the maximum you should have to pay after shopping around and some hard bargaining.

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