What is Plate Clearance?

By Angela Monroe - August 6, 2021

What is Plate Clearance h1

It’s one of those buzzwords from the car industry: ‘plate clearance’.

Even if car buyers don’t know what it actually means, they know it means one thing, at least – discounts.

So, what does plate clearance actually mean and how can you benefit?

A plate clearance means clearing out old stock to make way for new models. Vehicles with last year’s build date on their build plate are cleared out with the help of reduced prices – hence the name; ‘plate clearance’ and the lower prices.

Why do they need to clear out old stock?

Cars take up a lot of space. This means car dealers can’t simply put older models ‘out the back’ as they won’t all fit.

Furthermore, having the latest shiny model in a showroom looks good. Dealers are keen to keep customers coming in.

What’s a build plate then?

About the size of a playing card and usually found on the firewall (between the cabin and engine bay), the build plate details when the vehicle was built.

There’s also a compliance plate on vehicles built outside Australia which confirms their compliance with our road regulations.

These plates in your car’s engine bay contain a bunch of codes.

The jargon can be pretty confusing, but here’s a rundown.

Build – the date the car was completed in the factory.

MY – Model Year
This can be different from the build date. Manufacturers almost always start new production runs before the next calendar year starts.

This is mainly to get new stock in. So, for example, 2022’s models will likely start rolling off the production line in September, 2021.

In other words, you can have an MY22 vehicle built in 2021.

Compliance
These plates are fixed to the vehicle when they come off the boat at an Australian port. They typically feature a code to confirm that they meet Australian safety and emissions standards.

VIN – Vehicle Identification Number
A VIN is more than just a unique code for a specific vehicle. They’re always 17 characters long.

Interestingly, they can only contain numbers 0-9 and letters A-Z, but not including I, O and Q to avoid confusion with 1 and 0.

Here’s what is all means:

Take advantage of a plate clearance

In theory, if you were to buy a ‘new’ car on December 31, it would be worth less the very next day on January 1. This is because it would be ‘last year’s model’.

Plate clearance sales usually occur in January and February so, if possible, look at taking advantage of them during these months.

Make sure your negotiating skills are top notch too, so you can get the best price.

Angela Monroe
Angela Monroe is the Community Manager at The Positive Group, specialising in giving people the information that they need when they need it, and putting you on the path to a fair financial future. She has 8 years of experience in helping Australians find the right finance solutions, and regularly contributes articles to empower Australians with the knowledge they need to become financially healthy.

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