$98,000 for a License Plate? Yep, We Must be in Dubai…

Posted by - November 16, 2012 | Category: Peculiarities

The Dubai License Plate Numbers Game

In a land where bigger is better (Burj Khalifa anyone?), the ATMs dispense Gold, and even just a trip to the mall is larger than life (it’s home to the largest mall in the world) there is one peculiar area in Dubai where pint-sized is king, and that my friends, is the humble Dubai number plate.

You see, Emiratis have a thing for small digits — the lower the number on the license plate, the more money they’re willing to shell out for it. And in many cases, the number plate costs much more than the car it’s put on.

Take this SUV for example. It’s a Mercedes G-Class, and an entry-level 2012 model in the United Arab Emirates starts at 331,000 Emirati dirhams (AED), or about $90,114.65 USD.Dubai License plate auction, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Notice the license plate? Two-digits baby.

So how much do you think he paid for it?

I did some research to try and find out.

These are actual Dubai license plate numbers from an auction held earlier this year by the Roads and Transport Authority of Government of the Dubai (www.rta.ae). The prices next to the number plates up for auction are the reserve prices in Emirati dirhams (AED) – that’s what the bidding starts at. 

Dubai License Plate Number Auction RTA.com

A lowly G 515 plate will set you back a minimum of 80,000 AED  — that’s roughly $21,779.99 USD. Of course, that’s just the starting price. A respectable H 27 plate comes in at 250,000 AED, or 68,062.40 USD. But you should probably expect to pay a lot more.

Dubizzle (the Craigslist of the Middle East) also lists vanity low-number plates for sale by owners including the Dubai plate F 599 at the rock-bottom price of 360,000 AED ($98,009.86 USD.) You could probably haggle him down to $95,000 though.

Dubai License Number Plate F599 for sale on Dubizzle

The World’s Most Expensive License Plate

The honours for the most money ever paid for a license plate go to a gent in the neighbouring Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Businessman Saeed Abdul Ghafour Khouri paid the equivalent of 14.3 million USD for the number plate of every Abu Dhabian’s dreams – plate #1 — at an auction back in 2008.

The upside of all this is that any money raised through government auctions goes directly to charity. In the auction above, proceeds went to support victims of car crashes in the UAE.

The Price of Vanity

So how much did the chap who purchased the Q 63 plate pay? Unless he’s willing to come forward, there’s no way to know for certain. One thing is for sure — he paid a lot more than he did for his Mercedes. And definitely a heck of a lot more than the guy in the lane next to him.

expensive Dubai License plates, Dubai, UAE

Although if you ask me, I think they’re all a little nuts.

What are your thoughts on the cost of vanity number plates in Dubai?

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34 comments - add one
    1. your research is a dud Q number plates are not for sale yet we have reached O Some of these unissued codes are given to govt. officials for less then market value or free . g63 car =$170000. This illness was introduced here by the british and exists in some states in the U.S. ,so all you holy ppl should know we are in the same boat that u designed we just got on it

  1. Wow, this is absolutely fascinating. It’s something a visitor might NEVER notice but obviously status wise its important enough to spend millions on?! Crazy the different things our societies put stock in.

  2. I was all set for a rant here about people losing touch with reality and how stupid it is for people to spend this much on something that has no real meaning whilst others can barely afford to eat.. then I saw all the funds went to charity and figured.. hmm. If the rich want their vanity plates, and the money goes to a good cause, then I’m all for it. Now if only all vanity items had a similar positive outcome..

  3. I just found they take the elite thing to a whole new level in the UAE – and it’s not pretty. Frankly I would prefer to spend my time elsewhere in the Middle East, though it does have to be seen once to be believed.

  4. Ahh yes I would gladly pay that much for such a great thing as a license plate. Not really.

    Very interesting to see what certain cultures spend their money on. Maybe we can interest them on a deal for the entire cast of Jersey Shore.

  5. I think it’s interesting that they don’t want number plates with their names or their birth dates or anything like that. They just want to be number one. They just want to be better than everybody else. That says a lot about these people…

  6. Man, this is crazy!! I don’t understand the vanity of it. I guess it’s a way of showing off by saying you have money based on your license plate number. I know UAE is a rich place but not worth it to me. I think I would rather have money and not let people know. 🙂

    I definitely wouldn’t pay that much for a license plate. What do they have for $25? 🙂

  7. I’m surprised how people in their comments are willing to judge other people from other cultures without trying to understand why they are doing this! It seems that everyone forgot what the rich people in their countries do!

    Anyway, this is a common attitude in all Arabian Gulf countries, and knowing the money will go for charity which is a good cause, I don’t think there is anything against it.

    PS: people in the gulf are the most generous people in terms of charities and helping other countries worldwide.

    1. Where exactly is the “Arabian Gulf”? It has, is and always will be the Persian Gulf.

      Secondly, to the author, the Merc is not the entry level, but the top-spec AMG one. It sells for over AED 500,000. The license plate itself is a Q series, and if I am not mistaken Q series is reserved for VIPs and royals.

      I do find it crazy that they drop so much money on a license plate, but hell if you have a lot of money in your pocket then why not? Besides, in many cases it is an investment, where they sell the plate for a profit a year later

  8. I’m sure not everyone is spending this kind of money on license plates, and I doubt its a cultural phenomenon. It super interesting to look into these kinds of things and I think its great that you took the time to give us a little insight into the rich of Dubai.

    Thanks Raymond!!

  9. No its not a entry level g wagan its a g63 amg it costs about 60000 dollars more than the entry level g wagan so the plate is actually cheaper than the car just wanted to prove a point


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