In Germany, personalized license plates have been very popular for years, especially in the field of auto tuning. However, the legal framework is tight and there are strict regulations for the design. A new world record was set in April 2023 when a personalized license plate was auctioned in Dubai for a whopping US$15 million. It only showed the initials "P7". This example also attracted a lot of attention in Germany, because there is also great interest in such personalized license plates in Germany.
Personalized license plates!
The German Federal Transport Minister, Volker Wissing, sees the personalization of license plates as a matter of the heart. Car tuners would like to put models and years of manufacture on license plates. They emphasize the recognition value and the emotional aspect of making the vehicle unique with such license plates.
The general conditions in this country!
In Germany, however, license plates are subject to strict legal regulations. These include:
- eight characters maximum
- regional identifier at the beginning
- no abbreviations that violate common decency (§ 8, Paragraph 1 of the Vehicle Registration Ordinance)
- Combinations of letters and numbers with National Socialist or other problematic backgrounds are prohibited
More recently, however, new ways have been created to facilitate personalized license plates. First, new regional signs were introduced, making many previously unavailable letter and number combinations now available. Second are even Change indicator possible, with which one license plate is used for two vehicles.
Few customization options!
Nevertheless, the customization options remain limited. Critics of overly personalized license plates argue that it makes vehicles harder to identify and makes it difficult to control the limits of personalization. A possible solution could be to add more customized signs or stickers to the vehicle. In Germany this is allowed as long as you do not violate the legal restrictions. The design is largely up to the vehicle owner, but there must be no risk of confusion with the actual number plate.
The discussions will continue!
Overall, both sides of the debate have understandable arguments. The fact is: The license plate is an important part of the vehicle and the desire to personalize it is understandable. This applies in particular to car tuners who bring their personality to the vehicle through their work. The legal innovations in this area are therefore to be rated positively. On the other hand, license plates have a purpose that should not suffer from excessive personalization. The discussions will therefore probably continue to occupy us.
Of course, that wasn't the end of it.
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