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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 17 August 2018

How to get a VIP number plate in the UAE 

Everything to consider when it's time to get those VIP plates

Punters bid for number plate 10 at the Reading Nation Auction at the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai in 2016. Satish Kumar / The National.
Punters bid for number plate 10 at the Reading Nation Auction at the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai in 2016. Satish Kumar / The National.

What makes a number plate worth millions?

In the Emirates, distinction is in the detail and so the traditional starched kandora is worn with a designer watch and the ubiquitous white Toyota Lexus goes from ordinary to admirable with the right number plate.

Plates keep their value over the years, with investors claiming it is not just about prestige. Many believe it deters aggressive driving, making it a (pricey) investment in road safety.

This has given rise to a trade where plates can fetch more than 30 million dirhams.

The rule of thumb is the lower the number, the higher the status. But picking a good number plate isn’t quite that simple.

Sequenced, repetitive or mirror numbers often trump lower digits. Emirate and series number can also affect value.

In Abu Dhabi, series lower series numbers are preferred unless a number has a special significance. For example, a seven could represent the seven emirates, thereby making it preferable to a four.

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Dubai licence plates sells for Dh33million

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Consider identity when choosing the emirate of your plate. Abu Dhabi plates are associated with the prestige of the capital and can symbolise national unity. Dubai plates can be associated with entrepreneurship, business and fun.

Don’t have a million? Look for other emirates. The S-series, Ras Al Khaimah 60760 starts at Dh4,500.

On a shoestring budget? The bid for X-series, Umm Al Quwain 3210 starts at Dh1,800.

Of course, those are just starting bids. A plate with a minimum bid of Dh120,000 in the auction catalogue can open with a bid of Dh1million.

If you’ve decided how much you’re willing to bid, download the Emirates Auction app, which will tell you what plates are about to go on the block.

Once you’ve got your plate, you are ready to go rounding.

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