Number change: Eddie Murphy

The new president of the Society of the Irish Motor Industry, Eddie Murphy, plans to set up research focus groups among members of the public and the motor industry to explore the possibility of changing the number plate registration system.

At present with the first two numbers on the registration plate indicating the year of registration, there is a rush to buy vehicles early in the year. The result is that 50 per cent of all sales take place in the first three months leaving many garages with not enough volume of sales to pay their bills in the remainder of the year.

"The uneven sales year can mean taking on extra staff in the early part of the year with the possibility of not having enough work for them later on. A system like the UK where we could have two registration periods in the year should be explored to see if it would be a better proposition for all concerned."

The SIMI has been concerned about the present system of registration for some time. Murphy points out that a car bought in December can be discounted by €1,000 compared to a vehicle bought just a few days later in January simply because of the current format on the number plate.

"We want to get the views of the motoring public as we progress. There are many suggestions out there, colour coding plates, adding C02 emissions letters, there are many and varied suggestions."

The president added that he would also like to explore the possibility of purchasers of secondhand cars being able to re-register the vehicle in the county where they reside. This could be of benefit to car owners in certain rural areas where their registration plate might be as prized as one from a large urban area.