Was the '13' license plates unlucky for some?


Every year not only brings new cars and updated models, but also two new license plates that denote the current year. But why did people express concern over this year’s first registration plate?

As we are in 2013, there was a concern from those with a superstitious nature as to having the number ’13’ on their registration plates.

The number 13 is considered to be an unlucky number in some parts of the world, now synonymous with the ‘unluckiest day of the month’: Friday 13th. Those who fear the number are said to have the recognised phobia: ‘triskaidekaphobia’.

Early in 2012, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) considered allowing new car buyers, who found the number 13 to be unlucky, the opportunity to keep the previous ’62’ plates. The DVLA dropped this idea not long afterwards, however.

In a survey conducted by the AA last year, with 20,029 of its members, approximately one in ten said that they would not purchase a vehicle with a ’13’ license plate.

Many also stated that they would think twice about buying a new car with a ’13’ registration plate not because they think that it represents bad luck, but because they fear trying to sell them on in the future – as potential buyers may themselves have superstitious tendencies.

However, when analysing the data provided by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) since the introduction of the ’13’ license plates, it would appear that the change has not deterred buyers.

In March 2013, when the new registrations plates were introduced, UK new car registrations rose by 5.9 per cent, with 394,806 registrations of 13-plate cars.

March marked the 13th consecutive month of growth in new car registrations, which would imply that the superstition did not affect sales.

In March, SMMT Interim Chief Executive, Mike Baunton, commented: “UK new car registrations out-performed expectations in March, the first month of the new 13-plate. The market increased more than 5% on March 2012 to almost 395,000 units.”

He continued: “Despite ongoing economic concerns, consistent monthly growth in the market is an encouraging sign of returning consumer confidence as motorists are attracted to forecourts by new models and the latest technologies.”

So it would appear that motorists were attracted more by new models and the latest technologies that they were put-off by any superstitions.

In the next month, April, UK new car registrations further rose by 14.8 per cent to 163,357 units – further cementing the fact that buyers were not put-off by 13-plate models.

Furthermore, the month of May saw further increases in UK new car registrations, with 179,029 new models registered in UK dealerships in the month, compared to 160,876 new models in May 2012 – a 11.28 per cent change.

Manufacturers such as Ford, Vauxhall, Nissan, Fiat and Peugeot have continued to record higher and higher sales in the past few months, with buyers undeterred by the change in license plates.

Ford has continued to dominate the best sellers lists, with its Fiesta and Focus models occupying first and second space in both the monthly and year-to-date list for the majority of the time-span – although the Vauxhall Corsa has managed to knock the Focus off its second-place perch on occasion.

In the most recent month, May, a total of 25,674 new Ford models were registered in dealerships throughout the UK – besting May 2012’s sales figure of 23,255 new models sold.

This is a small indication of how customers have not been swayed by any superstitious thoughts and are continuing to buy models from their favourite manufacturers.

When looking at the actual month when the 13-plate cars were introduced (March 2013), British car manufacturer Vauxhall, the second best-selling car marque in the UK market, recorded sales of 42,017 units.

This represented an 8.78 per cent increase over March 2012’s sales figure of 38,624 new Vauxhall models registered in UK dealerships. This goes some way to proving that the ’13’ superstition has not affected the motoring industry.

For information regarding purchasing a new model, as well as enquiring about pricing, specifications and any test driving opportunities for all vehicles, visit any of the numerous Perrys Dealerships located throughout the UK.