What Is a Pre-Registred Car? Explore Their Pros and Cons

18th Oct 2023

By Veronica Chiarelli

What is a pre-reg car?

The term pre-reg (or pre-registered) is commonly used among new vehicles sales pages and advertisements. Even though it can be used as a selling point on ads and customer focused content, a lot of people don’t know what this term means and what advantages they’d get when choosing to purchase a car that's been previously registered.

This article will explore what the term "pre-registered" means in car sales, and analyse the advantages and disadvantages of buying a pre-reg car.


What does pre-registered mean?

Silver Subaru XV

The meaning of this term is quite suggestive. Pre-registered means that a vehicle has been previously registered within the DVLA by a previous owner, which was the first V5 holder. This is the part where a lot of people get confused. If the car has been previously registered, does that means that only used cars are pre-registered?

Well, that’s not the case. You may find that some brand-new vehicles advertised have been registered under the dealership’s name. The reasoning behind this is pure and simple: marketing strategy and hitting sales targets.

As with any other business, car dealerships are given sales targets and in order to meet them they register some vehicles under their own name. This helps manufacturers with their numbers on sales reports, and it’s good PR for the brand.

This creates an opportunity for buyers who’ll be able to buy a brand-new vehicle for a cheaper price, so technically this is a win-win situation.

What are the advantages of purchasing a pre-reg car?

Silver Mazda 3

There are many advantages of purchasing a pre-reg vehicle. As previously mentioned, these vehicles tend to be brand new and sold for less than the listed price. The discount usually varies from five to 25 percent, but considering that the dealership will be eager to pass on the product, you’ll have room to bargain.

Another advantage that might make a lot of difference when comparing to the unregistered cars is the availability of the vehicles. The process of purchasing a new car can be lengthy due to the manufacturer’s availability of each model. Depending on which trim your heart is set on, and how many add-ons you want, it could take months before the car is ready to be picked up.

If you decide to go with a pre-reg car, you can drive off with your brand-new vehicle right away. And if you think that only basic models and lower trims are available, well, think again. The range of vehicles available are varied, and you could find some pretty well-equipped cars out there. The only thing to keep in mind is that usually the pre-reg cars on offer are the most popular model and trims.

What are the disadvantages of purchasing a ‘’pre-reg’’ car?

Blue Ora Funky

As with everything, there are disadvantages of buying a pre-reg car.

The first one worth mentioning is that the warranty clock starts ticking from the moment the vehicle is registered for the first time. So if the manufacturer offers a 5-year warranty, you’ll only get the remaining time because in this situation the car won’t be considered brand new because it’s been previously registered by the dealership.

You can still have a long warranty. If the dealership registered the V5 five months before you buy it, you’ll still have another four years and half of warranty. That will still keep you covered for a while.

Even though the dealerships have some options of popular models and trims available for the pre-reg scheme, what you see is what you get. If you’ve had a previous experience ordering a new car, you may know that there are a lot of customisable features available to choose from, and you can decide what best fits your needs and means.

You won’t have this option with a pre-reg vehicle. Even though some dealerships will offer some cars with more than just the basic features, it’s no guarantee, and if you require something extremely specific, you may have to either pay the full price and get an actual brand-new car or go without.

Even though technically pre-reg vehicles are brand-new cars with low mileage (they’re usually delivered to resale points on the back of a transporter), when it comes to reselling, they’ll be considered second-hand. Again, all because you’ll be the second owner registered on the V5, and the car is going to be a bit older than if you had ordered a new one from the manufacturer, resale value will be affected.

Overview of pros and cons

In order to help you make up your mind, the information above has been summarised into a table to help you visualise the pros and cons and make a continent decision:



Brand-new car

Less warranty

More affordable

Can’t customise the vehicle

Immediate delivery or collection

Resale value is affected

Need more buying advice?

There are several pros and cons to consider before committing to purchasing a pre-reg vehicle. You’ll be able to find amazing deals and options to buy a car, but the thing to keep in mind is that you may lose out on the resale value if you need to resell it shortly after the purchase.

If you need more advice on buying new and used vehicles, we have a blog with the latest buying advice to help you make the right decision and purchase the vehicle that best suits your needs.