Buy a 59 plate now, or 10 in March?

* Snap up a 59-plate bargain * Or hold out for a 10-plate on your car * Scrappage scheme extended...

Buy a 59 plate now, or 10 in March?

Has there ever been a more interesting time to buy a new car? Thousands of customers are still eligible for the extended scrappage scheme and the new 10-plate arrives in March.

Should you hold out a little longer for the new plate, or snap up one of the current 59-plate cars in the hope of bagging a bargain?

The case for buying a 59-plate car now
The age difference between a 59-plate and 10-plate car could be as little as a week, if both cars are registered in 2010, but psychologically the 10-plate feels a year younger.

Prices for the two should also be the same, however because many buyers will now be waiting until March to buy their new car leaving dealers' showrooms quiet, eager buyers willing to take the older plate could snap up a bargain.

Why a 10-plate takes top spot
Negotiating a big discount on a 10-plate car could prove difficult, however, when it comes to selling your car on, the later plate could make a difference to the car's value.

Although it may be only a few weeks younger than a similar 59-plate car, potential buyers will be attracted to a car that seems much newer.

Be ready to compromise
If you are ordering a new car and the colour and specification matter, chances are you'll be waiting several weeks and getting a 10-plate anyway.

Buyers willing to compromise on colour and spec and take a car that's in stock will have a better chance of getting a bargain.

The best of both worlds
Although the plate change is a symbolic moment for buyers, dealers might be more focused on the end of the first quarter of trading at the end of March. This means that many deals will still be available in March, despite what salesmen claim.

Insider advice
We asked an ex-salesman for his advice. He said: 'Buyers should look like they've got money burning a hole in their pocket and negotiate a great deal on their new car. Once they've got that on paper, they should then push the dealer to register the car on March 1, so they can get the new plate anyway.'

Dealers might baulk at this tactic; our salesman's advice: 'Hold your nerve be prepared to walk away, and if the dealer really doesn't want your business, take the quote and see if another dealer can match it.'