The industry is concerned that superstitious customers will not want to purchase a vehicle with 13 on the number plate. It may sound ridiculous but in Ireland the debate has already started in earnest and sellers of all types of vehicles including cars, motorhomes and even tractors say many people will avoid the number 13 at all costs even if it means them delaying buying a new vehicle for a year. There are of course plenty of precedents to this. 13 has been considered unlucky ever since the Last Supper which was attended by Jesus and his 12 disciples and people with a fear of the number 13, triskaidekaphobia, have been avoiding the number ever since.
Motorhome parks often leave out number 13 when numbering their parking bays and many motorhome owners will not start a motorhome insurance policy on the thirteenth of the month. In Formula 1 motor racing there has not been a number 13 car for almost 40 years.
Alan Nolan from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry said the Irish Government have already been approached and car dealers had real concerns that 13 could well be unlucky for them, he said “You have to put this in the context of the market, which has fallen from around 180,000 new vehicles per year… this year we’re looking at 75,000 or so. Even if it was five per cent of people (who opted against buying a 2013 vehicle), in a market of 75,000 it’s still something that would have a real problem.”
Phil Campbell, who owns a Caravan and Motorhomes business on the outskirts of Dublin, said “I had not even given it a thought, but there could be some truth in it and it is a worry now that it has been mentioned. I myself avoid betting on any horses numbered 13, I hope our punters don’t feel the same way.”