Last year saw a record number of motorists purchasing personalised number plates – with nearly 375,000 registrations being sold by the DVLA.
It has been labelled as ‘auto-vanity’ as the sale of private plates raised just over £110m in 2016-17, with 374,968 plates being registered – an increase of 12 per cent on the previous year.
The value of private number plates has shot up in recent years, and while affordable registrations are still available for around £250, the most exclusive number plates can sell for six-figure sums.
The plate ’25 O’- remains the most expensive to be ever be sold publicly, changing hands for £518,480. However, ‘F1’, owned by Yorkshire-based Afzal Khan – owner of bespoke vehicle modifiers Khan Design – has reportedly turned down offers of £1m for the registration.
Experts say the rise of the plates has been fuelled by a trend of driver’s wanting to stand out, with registrations being a popular choice for both birthday and Christmas presents. They are also frequently being bought by parents when their child passes their driving test.
AA president Edmund King said: “People seem to be holding on to their cars for longer and by having a personalised plate the car doesn’t as age as much as it would otherwise. There is a bit of an auto-vanity about trying to hide the age of your car.”
The figures have been released after a parliamentary question to the Department for Transport.
Despite the surge this year, the DVLA still has more than 51 million registrations in stock.