According to research carried out in 2014, the DVLA made more than £60 million through the sales of private number plates in 2013. And the number is on the rise, with Brits splashing out over £100 million on private number plates at auction alone last year.
What is it about private plates that makes people want to spend money on them? Why are they so popular? Aside from making your car stand out from the crowd, there’s no denying that many drivers use a private number plate as a status symbol, particularly when it’s an expensive dateless plate placed on an equally expensive, flashy car. But, there’s more to buying a private number plate than appearance alone. We’ve put together some of the main reasons why drivers are willing to pay for a personalised plate.
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One of the main reasons why private number plates are so popular is simply because they are limited. Once you’ve purchased a private number plate, you become the owner of that plate to do whatever you like with, whether you choose to use it on your own car or sell it. Since a private number plate will continue to grow in value once it has been registered, it’s definitely a good investment for drivers to consider making. In addition, private number plates that are both meaningful and unique tend to have the highest value. For example, Afzal Khan, a businessman from Bradford, paid over £400,000 in 2008 to register the ‘F1’ private number plate to his Mercedes. In fact, his car actually cost less than the plate itself! This just goes to show how much of a good investment private plates can be if you choose the right one. Find out how much your private number plate is worth in this article.
Another common reason why drivers opt for private number plates is that they’re often more meaningful than the standard registration plates that came with your car. For example, the aforementioned ‘F1’ plate is perfect for any avid Formula One fan or racing driver. A business owner or executive could even choose a private number plate that acts as an advertisement for their brand. Or, the meaning could be subtler or something that only the owner could understand, such as having it include your name, initials, or date of birth. You could even have your child’s initials or the date that you met your spouse – the possibilities are endless!
Simply put, a private number plate is unique and will really make your car stand out on the road. As mentioned earlier, once you become the owner of the private number plate, you are the sole owner and only you are allowed to use that plate on your car. This uniqueness is just another of the biggest factors that influence the decision to invest in a private number plate.
You may think that you’ll need to splash out hundreds of thousands of pounds for a private number plate, but that isn’t always the case. Unless you want to buy the ‘F1’ plate from Afzal Khan, obtaining a private number plate may be surprisingly more affordable than you initially expected. Dateless number plates are inevitably going to be more expensive, but prefix, suffix and current styles can be obtained for less than a thousand pounds, depending on the combination of letters and numbers that you choose. Of course, the more ‘in demand’ a combination is, the more you can expect to pay for it. Invest some time into finding the perfect plate for you, and you’ll probably be able to find a price that suits your budget, too. Don’t forget that many registration dealers will also offer finance options, allowing you to spread the cost of your new private registration plate over a number of years instead of paying the full amount up front.
Don’t forget that you don’t have to buy a private number plate for yourself – they’re also a hugely popular gift idea. If you have a friend or relative who loves their car, a private number plate could be the perfect birthday or Christmas present for them. They’re easy to obtain online or over the phone and are a much more meaningful gift than chocolate or flowers – your recipient surely won’t forget what an amazing gift you got them for a long time, particularly when they see it every time they get in their car! You can search for your perfect registration at britishcarregistrations.co.uk using their number plate search – remember that if the exact plate you want isn’t there, keep on going and look for different combinations that may be suitable for your recipient. It’s always best to be flexible and go into your search with an open mind, since your ideal plate may already be taken, or way out of your budget.
Although you will not be allowed to use a private number plate that deliberately makes your car look newer, it’s still possible to hide the age of your car in other ways. Whilst it’s forbidden to use a current style plate displaying a year that comes after your car’s year of registration, it’s possible to get around this rule. For example, you might want to opt for a dateless plate, which will not include a registration year and make it harder to tell exactly how old the vehicle is. In other cases, you can choose a registration date that’s a lot older than your car’s registration date, which will make it obvious that it’s not the actual year when your car was made. You can also make it more difficult to tell the year of registration, for example, by using letter such as O and I, which could look like a ‘10’ from a distance and fool other drivers into thinking that your car was registered in 2010 instead.
Have you ever been asked to write down your registration number or enter it into a form, only to forget what it is? This can happen from time to time, but with a private number plate, you’ll never forget what your registration is – after all, you’ve paid a lot of money for it! Once you’ve personalised your number plate, you won’t have to nip outside to check your car manually when filling out insurance applications or paying for parking. In addition, a private number plate can also make it easier to spot your car in a busy car park, especially if it’s a particularly popular colour or model. With a unique number plate that’s personal to you, both you and others will be able to spot your vehicle at a glance!
Lastly, if you’ve spent a lot of money on a flashy new car, then why shouldn’t you be able to show it off? A private number plate will make your car look even more luxurious and give you a reputation boost. No wonder they are so popular with business owners, sports stars, and anyone else with a good name to uphold.
Would you consider investing in a private number plate for any of these reasons? Let us know.