Most expensive number plates in South Africa – with one costing over R100,000

 ·11 Jun 2024

The most expensive number plate currently available in South Africa costs a staggering R113,619- excluding license and registration fees.

According to Plates SA, a personalized number plate manufacturer, the unique identifier consists of a single alphanumeric character intended for a car in the Western Cape province.

Plates SA showed that the number plate will be formatted as “1 – WP” or “A – WP”.

In South Africa, you can personalise your vehicle’s number plate with a combination of up to seven alphanumeric characters of your choice, pending approval from the Department of Transport.

The selected characters for the number plate should not be offensive, rude, or obscene. They should also be available and meet standard number plate requirements.

Additionally, the number plate must be SABS-approved, displaying the approved logo, hologram, coat of arms, or background according to the regulations of the province where the vehicle is registered.

These plates are linked to your vehicle but are also transferable from person to person and from car to car, making them potential investments.

In 2016, Wheels24 reported that a collection of single-character Gauteng plates, ranging from “1 – GP” to “8 – GP,” sold for a staggering R1.89 million at auction.

While we don’t know the original purchase price, based on today’s rates, the original owner could have paid R52,800 for the set.

This shows a remarkable return on investment of 3,480%.

You can obtain a “vanity plate” in any province in South Africa, but the costs vary depending on the location and supplier.

The table below shows the prices of personalised number plates in the Western Cape, as outlined by Plates SA.

Number plate sequenceExamplesPrice
4-7 alpha and/or numeric charactersHELLO 1 – WPR3 307
3 alpha and/or numeric charactersXYZ – WPR6 419
2 alpha and/or numeric charactersZ9 – WPR14 469
1 alpha and/or numeric charactersA – WPR113 619

In Gauteng, the prices of personalised number plates are:

Number plate sequenceExamplesPrice
3 alpha and 3 numeric characters007 XYZ – GPR2 100
JOE 777 – GPR2 100
4 – 7 alpha and/or numeric characters4U2C – GPR4 100
1 – 3 alpha and/or numeric charactersIMB – GPR6 600
M5 – GPR6 600
1 – GPR6 600

Costs could become even more expensive

In February 2024, Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi announced that every Gauteng resident renewing their car license disc would need to apply for a new number plate with the introduction of upgraded license plates due to concerns about cloned plates being used by criminals.

Lesufi added that the province’s current registration plates for cars are also running out of combinations, prompting the need for an overhaul of the system.

However, The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) has expressed concerns, stating that the new vehicle license plate scheme may introduce new controls at a cost.

Outa CEO Wayne Duvenage believes that the new “high tech” number plates will have to be more expensive than they currently are.

This may drive motorists and businesses to register their plates elsewhere.

Outa argues that while improved security features would be helpful if the rule of law were properly enforced, there is no indication that they will truly assist in reducing the spread of fraudulent and cloned plates, as the authorities promised.

After announcing that the plates would be available to all motorists in the Gauteng province last month, Premier Lesufi reversed his decision and stated that they would first be introduced to government vehicles during a pilot period beginning in April 2024 and then to private vehicles.

Read: What you need to earn to afford the cheapest Audi, BMW, and Merc in South Africa in 2024

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