Of course. Like I’ve mentioned before, Dubai is notorious for the phrase “World’s Biggest/Most Expensive/Best/Tallest/etc [insert any noun here]”. License plates are no exception. Obtaining a license plate in the states is probably considered more of a hassle, whereas in Dubai, it’s one of the most important things you can do as a car owner.
In Dubai, the license plates use a maximum of 5 numbers, with #1 reserved for Sheikh Mohammed’s Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG Sport.
The fewer digits on your plate, the more important (ahem, wealthy) you are – after about 1000, I don’t think it matters overmuch, but a one, two or even three digit plate is a huge coup! Even the police here have some of the revered plates (photographed at the Dubai Motor Show last weekend):
These hugely desired plates are auctioned off to the highest bidders every few years, hence the “World’s Most Expense License Plate” title. This auction and desire for a small numbered license plate reminded me of an episode of Seinfeld: a car had a vanity plate saying “ASSMAN.” 🙂 The ASSMAN was immediately recognizable on the streets of of NYC, just as these single and double digit plates are here in Dubai. That being said, even if the U.S., an auction for that plate (a piece of television history!) would not come close to the amount of cash folks shell out for single and double digit plates; the status symbol of your pricey car really means very little if you don’t have the plate to match it. It’s actually quite a good investment as well (if you’re into that kind of thing): the plates have more than a 20% annual return in value – bizarre to consider that while the value of your car will decrease the second you drive it off the lot, the value of the piece of metal attached to it will increase!
So, to give you a little perspective, the plate emblazoned with the number “7” on it, sold in 2008 for $3.12M! Crazy in my mind, but in the words of my mother, “Everyone spends their money differently.” I always keep my eyes peeled on the road for someone important (or just wildly wealthy). Until next time…