Chapter 12, Section D:
Vehicles in a Dealer's Inventory - Dealer Plates

Revised December 7, 2011

Dealer plates (66-3-401 through 66-3-404)

Any vehicle that is required to be registered and that is included in the inventory of a dealer may be operated or moved upon the highways for any purpose, provided that the vehicle displays a dealer plate.

Each dealer plate shall be issued for a specific vehicle in a dealer's inventory. If a dealer wishes to use the plate on a different vehicle, the dealer must reregister that plate to the different vehicle.

Dealer plates are not provided for a dealer's work or service vehicles, including parts or delivery vehicles; vehicles used to tow another vehicle; courtesy shuttles; or vehicles loaned to customers for their convenience.

Maximum number of dealer plates

A bona fide dealer of new or used motor vehicles or motorcycles is eligible for a maximum number of plates based on the number of vehicles sold by the dealer in the previous year:

  1. one plate for a dealer who sold five or more but fewer than 50 vehicles;
  2. three plates for a dealer who sold more than 50 but fewer than 100 vehicles;
  3. five plates for a dealer who sold more than 100 but fewer than 500 vehicles;
  4. 10 plates for a dealer who sold 500 or more vehicles; or
  5. five plates in a dealer's first calendar year in business, including the first full calendar year for dealers licensed on or after August 1 of any year.

Registration of vehicles in inventory

Vehicles that are included in a dealer's inventory may be registered but need not be titled.

When a vehicle is no longer included in a dealer's inventory, and is not sold or leased to an unrelated entity, the dealer must title the vehicle and pay the motor vehicle excise tax that would have been due when the vehicle was first registered by the dealer.

Instead of using dealer plates, a dealer may choose to register and title a vehicle in the dealer's inventory in the name of the dealer upon payment of the registration fee, but without payment of the motor vehicle excise tax (MVET), provided the vehicle is subsequently sold or leased in the ordinary course of business in a transaction that is subject to the MVET or the leased vehicle gross receipts tax.

Coaches and athletic directors

A dealer may register a vehicle in the name of the dealer for the purpose of providing the use of a vehicle from the inventory of the dealer to a full-time coach or athletic director at any state-supported four-year institution of higher education in New Mexico.

Dealer plates provided for such vehicles do not count against the maximum number of dealer plates described above.

The vehicles need not be titled, but must be included in inventory for federal tax purposes and transferred to the full-time coach or athletic director under conditions that require the dealer to report the value of the use of the vehicle as income to the full-time coach or athletic director.

Documentation needed to register dealers and coaches plates

  • Copy of front and back of title or MCO
  • Copy of current year dealer's license
  • Insurance - can be garage liability

Expiration of dealer plates

Every dealer plate expires at midnight on December 31 of each year. Renewal of all dealer plates shall be on or before December 31.

Dealer plate transfer to another vehicle

  • Verify in 2.0 Search Option that the plate exists in the current year.
  • Go to Dealer Plate First Registration option.
  • Under the Secondary VIN Number field is a field called Waive First Time Registration Fee.
  • Choose “yes” which will charge the correct ($5) transfer fee.

Dealer plates not transferable to another dealer

Dealer plates are not transferable between dealers.

Whenever a dealer ceases operation for any reason, the dealer shall surrender to the division any dealer plates issued to the dealer.