Seen those ’67 reg-plates yet? Probably, demand is ‘historically’ high!
The world is getting smaller. Consumer items once reserved for the more affluent areas of society are now more widely accessible than ever before, and a significant part of this are higher value commodities, such as cars. Now, it seems to be that new models of cars and other vehicles are being released at the same rate as mobile devices! One a year, one every two years, the production and marketing of cars in this way has been made possible by the introduction of lower finance deals and by the retention of used car value, along with an argued increase in consumer incomes.
Can these record sales last?
It can certainly be argued that this is not a sustainable business model. Especially as personal debt for consumers, including cars, has risen by 10% in the last 12 months, considerably disproportionate to the meagre 1.5% pay increase seen this last year. For some, the boasts that demand and sales of cars is at a historic high are in fact simply highlighting how unstable the business model of car financing must be. There are varying factors to consider when seeing the record number of registrations, but one definitely worth noting is the dating of registration plates on cars.
Surely cars are harder to acquire than iPhones?
It’s worth considering if cars would be such a consumer item if customers were not aware that model ‘X’ is actually a 6 months newer than model ‘Y’. A perfect example of this is the Nissan Micra models between 2010 and 2013. The shape and general specs of the car are near-identical, and therefore the only way to decipher which year’s release you’re looking at is by the registration plate. This is not to say that an individual would sell their ’11 Micra because the ’61 came out, but by re-releasing models with minor changes on a regular basis, car manufacturers are acting more like mobile phone manufacturers each day.
Maybe camping outside a dealership wouldn’t work
One of the core reasons that people flock and camp outside Apple stores before a new phone release is that nobody wants to be caught with a blatantly out-of-date device. With the rates that units are shifted for Apple, as an example, there are those who have taken out an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus contract this summer, and already have a phone model two behind the most ‘current’ model. There’s nothing wrong with the 7 at all, besides the recent IOS 11.0.2 update, and yet it now already looks like such an ancient model to some! Contrasting iPhones however, is Apple’s MacBook Pro range – and this is where car manufacturers should take inspiration from.
Subtlety is key!
After the 2012 model of the MacBook Pro, all models up until this year’s (so that’s 5 years) look identical. The only way you know if you have an early/late 2013 or early 2015 is by checking the specs once the laptop is switched on. The beauty in this is that only the owner knows how new or old their product is, and yet each model is as identically attractive as the previous. If this was the case with cars, by removing the date from registration plates for example, and using the Micra as an example again, only you would know which year your Micra was released. Surely it’s nobody else’s business for a start! But the question to ask is: does the registration date somebody’s car incubate social pressure to update more regularly? And can this be a driving force of consumer debt? Maybe it’s time to fuel some change.
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