How Popular Are Personalised Number Plates in the UK?

How often do you see personalised number plates around you? Pretty much every day, we know. It became a really popular thing to do a couple of years ago. However, how many people actually thought about how do we really know about them? We are pretty sure that this percentage is pretty low. Back in 2015/16, annual sales of personalised number plates reached 102 million pounds, this was a 19% increase when compared to the previous year. This is really impressive for that time when they weren’t as popular as they are now. At that time, DVLA provided the public with information that about 334,818 registrations of this kind were sold. The most expensive one reached 180,000 pounds. Pretty pricy right? That’s not even half of the story. 

John Collins, a classic car dealer paid 400,000 pounds to have a personalised number plate on his Ferrari 250. After the additional fees like VAT and buyer’s premium were taken into account, the price reached 518,000. His number plate says 25 O. Personalised registrations have quite the tradition in the UK since they were introduced by DVLA back in 1989. That year, about 658 were sold. Up to 2016, the number grew to about 4.5 million. Moreover, auctions that sell personalised number plates are hosted a couple of times every year. Do you see how big this became over the years? Even the Queen has her own, which was the first one issued in London back in 1903.

Many cars these days are very much looked after, some people take more pride in their cars more than they do their homes or even themselves. As a result, many cars look much younger than they actually are, apart from of course the number plate. Cherished number plates have been used in the UK to hide the age of any type of vehicle. Car manufacturers use cherished number plates to hide the age of vehicles for advertisements and TV commercials. Companies like CarReg in Wolverhampton are one of the UK’s main suppliers.

Let us present you with some further information that will tell you the story of the personalised registrations in the United Kingdom.

How Popular are They?

We can all agree that we live in an era that promotes the improvement of our individuality. It looks like this is the perfect time for obtaining a personalised number plate. In the first part of our article, we’ve presented you with some older statistics about sales of this newly promoted product. Now, will see what the situation was only two years ago. Back in 2018, DVLA sold roughly 375,000 registrations of this type. This was an increase of 12% when compared to 2017. You should try to calculate these number and you will see the boom that we are talking about here. Only a decade ago, these represented some kind of prestige.

Nowadays, they are available to almost anyone who is interested in obtaining them. We can draw a parallel with a lot of products that were once a symbol of status, and now they are available to everyone. Moreover, those that were made back in the eighties or the nineties now have a significant value. For example, we will present you with a story of Brian Heaton. For business purposes, he acquired several personalised number plates a few decades ago. Now, one of his registration plates that says J6 SUS has a price tag of 99,995 pounds. He stated that he witnessed some of the plates that were worth around a thousand pounds are now worth more than 150,000 pounds.

Peculiar Stories about Personalised Number Plates

We already talked about the case of John Collins and him paying 400,000 pounds for a personalised registration plate. We can have a further look at the Robert Harverson’s story. He is a businessman from Surrey, who ended up paying 250,000 pounds for registration 1 RH. His story is interesting because he bought it on an auction in Yorkshire. At first, he intended to spend between 100,000 and 150,000. However, when he saw a plate that has his own initials written on it, he decided to break the bank for it. 

Back in 2013, Steve Holden decided to drive more than 200 miles to the north-eastern part of the country just to by a registration plate that says HO11 DEN. The similarity with his last name is clear, so we can see the reason why he started this journey of his. This story is more interesting because of the miles he covered just to buy this one. He started this journey by spending about 3,000 on his mind. Yet, he spent 7,400. At the same time, this story gets much stranger if you know that he already has four other personalised registration plates. He described it as a hobby of sorts because when you have one, you immediately want to find a better one for your vehicle.

DVLA Rules about Number Plates

There are several rules that were displayed by DVLA about number plates. We are going to present them to you. 

  • It is considered illegal to misrepresent the format of the plate prescribed by DVLA.
  • They need to have at least one number.
  • Vehicles need to have Road Tax and MOT in order to take part in government transfer scheme.
  • It’s not allowed for a plate to have a registration mark, which could say that a vehicle is younger than it really is.

Which Plates Can be Banned by DVLA?

DVLA releases a list of banned UK number plates twice a year. On these lists, DVLA can place registration plates that are considered distasteful while on the road. Some of the plates can be considered distasteful for the DVLA, but it can present something special to the owner of the vehicle. Sadly, the DVLA has the priority here. This is not something that is done by a computer. Instead, this is done by a bi-annual meeting. According to the agency itself, all plates that are potentially causing embarrassment, offense, or just present a poor taste are going to be prohibited. Recently, after the proclamation of definite Brexit by the UK government, people started buying Brexit-themed registration plates. These were banned by the officials.

The Conclusion

We have presented you with some of the information that says about the popularity of personalised number plate in the United Kingdom. Furthermore, we have shown you some of the rules that are imposed by the DVLA regarding this trend. Moreover, you have seen some of the most interesting stories about people that turned this trend into a hobby of sorts. We have absolutely no doubt that this is the trend that will not leave the UK soon and that we are going to see even more of these in the future.

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