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Dublin: 10 °C Saturday 25 October, 2014

First look: Here’s what the new 2013 numberplates will look like

From tomorrow, new cars will carry the year of their registration plus an extra digit, depending on the time of year.

IRELAND’S NEW SYSTEM of car registration plates kicks in from tomorrow – with a new bi-annual system which denotes whether a car was bought in the first or second half of the year.

In theory, the new plates – introduced as part of Budget 2013 – are being introduced in an effort to offer some stability to the motor sales industry, which traditionally sees the bulk of its sales in the first few months of the year.

This is because many motorists perceive a car to have been on the road for the full year of its first registration – and therefore will judge some cars to be older than they actually are.

For example, a motorist going shopping for a new car from tomorrow might perceive a car with a 12-D registration plate to be a year old – even if it had only been registered last week.

The new plate is designed to make it more evident that a car had been first taken to the roads in the second half of a year, and potentially help a car dealer balance their sales more evenly throughout the year.

Some, however, had called for a change in the registration plates before 2013 simply because they had wanted to avoid having the supposedly unlucky number ’13′ on their registration plates.

The calls for a new system had been led by independent TD Michael Healy-Rae, who believed the struggling industry could be dealt a harsh blow by any refusal of motorists to buy a generation of cars bearing the supposedly unlucky 13.

The photo above shows what the new plates will look like. By and large, they’re identical to the ones we already have, except for one adjustment: cars bought in the first half of 2013 will carry the ‘year’ 131, as you see in the photo above, and those bought from July onward will carry 132.

This isn’t just for 2013, incidentally: this will be the same for every year from now on.

(Thanks to the team at Keary’s Renault in Cork for the photo above. Here’s Amy Quilter and her Corkonian colleagues, as they prepare for the new system. Photo: Clare Keogh.)

Read: Government rules out allowing personalised registration plates

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