According to Glass's Information Services, the new licensing law effective in the UK from February 1, 2003 could well create a two-tier market for used commercial vehicles. In short, the market for vans and trucks without a V5 registration document will become depressed but, to what degree, only time will tell, Glass's said.

The revised law is one of the UK government's initiatives to combat vehicle crime and will make it impossible to obtain a road fund licence without the production of a V5.

This could well leave the buyer of a used commercial vehicle unable to use their purchase until a replacement V5 is obtained - a process the DVLA warns could take up to six weeks.

Says Glass's chief commercial vehicle editor George Alexander: "The hassle related to applying for replacement registration documents, and the delays that are likely to arise from the system being overloaded, can surely only result in punitive reductions in value for vehicles lacking documentation at the time of sale. Those offered with a V5 will attract full market value. Those without, will not."

With a few weeks still to go before 'V5' day, there remains time for vendors to change their policy towards vehicles with missing paperwork. If they don't, the emergence of a two-tier market seems inevitable, Glass's said.