How new is your new car?
Sounds like a trick question? You’re right. Like everything else in the car world, the definition of “new” is negotiable
IF you think “new” applies to the shiny four-wheeled object you’re about to sign up for, that it just rolled off the production line, hasn’t been driven, is packed with state of the art tech and won’t be superseded for a few years, you’re probably wrong. I’ll explain … Get a car’s birthday wrongong and it can cost you serious money. When a car leaves the factory, it carries a build plate, which hich identifies the month and nd year it was manufactured.
When an imported car arrives in Australia it iss also fitted with a compliance ce plate, which identifies the month onth and year it landed and cleared red customs with the relevant vant approvals according to o the Australian Design Rules. es.
When you buy, registerster and insure a new car, itsts model year is determined ned by the compliance plate date.
It’s often the case thathat an imported car is built in the year before it arrives in Australia, tralia, so the build plate will identifyntify the car as being a year older than the compliance plate.
If you’re buying a new car, your friendly local dealer will point to the compliance plate as evidence of its birthday.
However at trade-in time they will also have a look at the build plate, and if it’s from a year earlier, that’s the year they will use in valuing the car, because one year older means it’s worth less.
In the early months of a new year, most importers and dealers are still holding compliance-plated stock from the previous year. You’ll often see it advertised in January with a discount, for the same reason — it’s now one year old.
Always check the compliance plate and build plate dates. If either or both are stamped with last year’s date, your new car isn’t really new any more, so factor this into the deal. A similar trap applies here. In the car business, everybody from the global supremo to the sales junior at the smallest dealer has to meet targets. If they don’t, they soon get to spend more time with the family.
So importers and dealers will sometimes register new cars late in the year to get them included in annual sales numbers, even though the cars haven’t actually been sold to real people. These cars will then be sold as demonstrators, usually with a few kilometres on the clock and often at an attractive price. That That’ss fine but the factory warranty starts ticking as soon as the car is registered, so if a demonstrator