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Over here in the UK, we are one of the only countries in the world that continues to register new vehicles with "age related" number (registration, or license) plates. So my old Anniversary Spider was a "66" plate for the period Sep 2016-Feb 2017 (if number above 50, subtract 50 to arrive at year, ie: 66 - 50 = 16 = 2016). And my new Spider is on a "17" plate, so 17 - 0 = 17 = 2017. Simple! (But before then we had another single letter prefix to denote years 1984-2000, before that a single letter suffix for years 1962-1984, and before that we had "ageless" plates). So in the UK a lot of people like to show off their new registration (number) plates on their new car. And for us, a 2017 car is one that gets registered in 2017. If we know there is a new model coming, and it gets released shortly before a "plate change" date (1 Mar or 1 Sep) then people might delay purchase to get a new plate.

But you guys over in the US have a completely different view, with no age-related plates. First of all, you don't seem to even refer to the first of the new Spiders as being 2016 models, they are all 2017 models, even though they were built and registered in 2016 (but also the first few months of 2017, agreed). But now we're not even half way through 2017 and you're all wondering when the 2018 model will be arriving? Is there even a 2018 model, different from 2017 (2016?)? Why do you guys always want to be 1 year ahead, maybe it's just the American way?
 

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It refers to model year (MY).

Manufacturers have been unveiling their new models earlier and earlier in the (prior) year, and making them available for purchase earlier and earlier.

What's different in the UK is that the plate refers to the year it was registered and not the actual model year. So, you (in the UK) could have a 2018 model registered in 2017, if that model was made available early enough that it'd get a 2017 plate; It's still a 2018 car.

As you probably know, our plates are not tied to the car; indeed, I don't even know what my plate number is.
 

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Interesting, I always thought it aligned with the time that mfgs. Shut production lines down to retool for the upcoming run. i.e. during july/august break, (workforce furloughed for 1-2 weeks due to heat and need to perform machine maintenance/overhaul/upgrades), the new year would start. Seems partially true....

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Model_year
 

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As you probably know, our plates are not tied to the car; indeed, I don't even know what my plate number is.

Or, in my case, WHERE it is :eek:
I brought my front plate home from the dealer and it hasn't been seen since. Sticking it to the man (in NY they are required, technically)!
 

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In the U.S., late summer or early fall has been the traditional time to start selling the new model year, but I remember when the new 2014 Mazda 6 first went on sale in January 2013.
 

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I bought my 2014 Mazda CX-5 in February.... Of 2013... Makes no sense but I'm not in marketing.
 
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