Operation of Vehicles Under Dealer Plates

66-3-401. Operation of vehicles under dealer plates.

A.  Any vehicle that is required to be registered pursuant to the Motor Vehicle Code [66-1-1 NMSA 1978] 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 display in the manner prescribed in Section 66-3-18 NMSA 1978 a unique plate issued to the dealer as provided in Section 66-3-402 NMSA 1978. This subsection shall not be construed as limiting the use of temporary registration permits issued to dealers pursuant to Section 66-3-6 NMSA 1978. 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.

B.  The provisions of this section do not apply to work or service vehicles used by a dealer. For the purposes of this subsection, "work or service vehicle" includes any vehicle used substantially as a:

          (1)       parts or delivery vehicle;

          (2)       vehicle used to tow another vehicle;

          (3)       courtesy shuttle; or

          (4)       vehicle loaned to customers for their convenience.

C.  Each vehicle included in a dealer's inventory required to be registered pursuant to the provisions of Subsection A of this section must conform to the registration provisions of the Motor Vehicle Code, but is not required to be titled pursuant to the provisions of that code. 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.

D.  In lieu of the use of dealer plates pursuant to this section, a dealer may register and title a vehicle included in a dealer's inventory in the name of the dealer upon payment of the registration fee applicable to that vehicle, but without payment of the motor vehicle excise tax, provided the vehicle is subsequently sold or leased in the ordinary course of business in a transaction subject to the motor vehicle excise tax or the leased vehicle gross receipts tax.

History: 1953 Comp., § 64-3-401, enacted by Laws 1978, ch. 35, § 80; 1998, ch. 48, § 8; 2005, ch. 324, § 9; 2007, ch. 319, § 28.