They still do it if they need to.
Here (Ireland),I noticed this a long time ago,Im sure something similar can apply in england altho your registration numbers arent as obvious as ours.
Here, a unregistered car bought and registered in say 2011 is a 11 plate,whenever it was manufactured.
This is a reason car sales/registrations drop way down in the last 3 months of the year.Then at the very end of Dec car sales pick up and Jan ends up being the top month of registration.
Buying a car in say January whether its a "new shape " or not ,the chances are it will have been manufactured in the previous year.
When I was buying my Megane in June ,I was also checking on other possible contenders.Among the offers I got was a "good deal" on a old shape focus.
The shape of the new and "old" focus isnt as different as megII/Meg III but it sure makes a big difference on price.
Im sure that even now end sep-say end Nov there would be "extra primo good mr.fawlty" deals on old shape focuses.or is that focii?
Whether dealers go so far as to sell 2010 cars for 2012 reg I dont know, but it may well be legal.
Meg III started production around october 2008.When did the first one arrive in the UK?,dunno maybe March 2009?,maybe earlier.
Either way there would still have been plenty of brand new MegII's in stock looking for good homes with special deals,just like when the Meg IV comes out or wotever .
The good things are:
1.The Meg II and Meg III are built on the same base chassis,so no loss there.
2.In general a later production run of an earlier model will be better than an early production run of a new model.(they iron out the "undiscovered in testing" flaws with production revisions as time goes on).These wont be heavily publicised for obvious reasons.
A little story example would be "the exploding ecotec" as I like to call it.
Early Mk1 vauxhall tigras and lots of corsas fitted with the xe ecotec had an annoying habit of engine self destruct . This was due to a poor/weak design of the cambelt tensioner.
It happened to me at 13000 miles,it was out of guarantee by a few months(1 year guarantee) .
At the time I was very pleased that the friendly dealers were going to repair it under guarantee phew.
I was told that the repairs were going to be extensive and that I must have let it run on for awhile.. naughty me not emergency braking and heading for the nearest ditch.
I decided to investigate and see if I had just been unlucky .. and Lo! there were many tales of the rogue tensioner spreading across the land.
Good Lo there^
To cut it short vauxhall/opel were repairing, free of charge any car with the same problem ,still under guarantee or not as long as the recommended belt change time (40000) hadnt been exceeded.
All production models by this time were being fitted with the new stronger tensioner.
Some folks were demanding ,and getting brand new engines..and in some cases cars cos they didnt want one with old damaged bits in it.
The problem didnt lead to a recall,must have been more cost effective to repair the blown engines and revise the production line,belt change intervals were also dropped to 30000 miles.
Needless to say my attitude when contacting the local dealer to see when the car would be ready moved from "thank you massah" to "get yer asses in gear"
From then on the car was pretty much trouble free for 80k.
My Meg III bought in June was manufactured in Jan 2011.
Theres a big "signed off n ready" sticker behind the front reg plate showing the date.
Thas good for me because they brought in fuel system revisions to production in Dec 2010.
Where was my car between Jan and June?.
From new(yes I checked on day 1)
Some of the alloy/aluminium components in the engine bay have corrosion "salts" on them..little white deposits.The driveshafts have a patina of rust on them,nice orangey colour.(must give em a coat of rust remedy).
The front Ventilation intake just under the rear of the bonnet also had white deposits
and 2 feathers probably both from the same source,seagull is my guess.
In short I reckon it had been "in open storage" for a couple of months at least.
The manufacturers protective wax coating on the bodywork seems to have done its job, bodywork looked fine.
Doesnt suprise me greatly that it was stored for awhile ,at least I didnt have to wait for a special order to come in.