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(Apologies if there's already a thread like this - couldn't find one.)

OK, I was browsing through the "What car do you drive" thread, and it got me fascinated on the different license plate schemes used worldwide - so, share how your country/province/state does it.

I'll start - we have nine provinces over here in South Africa; each province not only has its own license plate numbering scheme, but its own visual design for plates as well. You get used to it though.

  • Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal still use the "old" system of a two or three letter identifier denoting the place of registration (starting with "C" in the Western Cape and "N" in KZN), followed by a number that can be up to five digits in the case of a three letter identifier, or six digits in the case of a two letter identifier. In the Western Cape, the identifiers were allocated based on the size of the town, so CA is Cape Town, CB was Port Elizabeth (back when what is currently the Western, Eastern and Northern Cape was one large province - Port Elizabeth is now in the Eastern Cape, so CB is no longer used), and so forth. KZN instead went with an alphabetical system (ND being Durban, NP being Pietermaritzburg, NRB being Richard's Bay), although that doesn't tend to hold out in the smaller places.
  • The other seven provinces use the following scheme: three letters (excluding vowels), three numbers, and then one or two letters indicating the province of registration: EC for the Eastern Cape, NC for the Northern Cape, FS for the Free State, NW for North West Province, GP for Gauteng, MP for Mpumalanga and L for Limpopo. Number/letter combinations are sequentially assigned, so one can easily tell how new a car is based on the plate.
  • As a side note, Gauteng is about to switch over to two letters, two numbers, two letters again, followed by the trailing GP; they've almost exhausted all possible combinations with the system described above.

OK, your turn. :)
 

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Leudimin
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Spain:
The first numbering scheme was XX-xxxxxx, with XX being the code of the province (M=Madrid, B=Barcelona, HU=Huesca :D) and up to six numbers.
Then (Starting in 1970), we switched to a XX-xxxx-## system, with 4 numbers and one or two letters. Madrid was to reach M-9999-ZZ in the year 2000 (Last plate issued was M-6814-ZX), so we switched to a new numbering scheme (The last issued plate in my province under that was HU-9747-P).
Now we have dropped the provincial code, and we've got the euroband, 4 numbers and 3 letters, starting at 0000 BBB (Without vowels or Q, so only 20 letters avalaible. 80 million plates). Older plates can be remade with the euroband. The latest plate I saw was 2140 GYT.
 

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Hungary uses a format with three letters and three numbers, divided by a dash since 1990. It was modified in 2004 by replacing the old Hungarian flag-band with a Euro-band after joining the EU. Only non-accentuated letters are used from A to Z, so the first license number was AAA-001. (I'm not sure about that, but I think that there are no plates with three 0s.) That license number was followed by AAA-002, and so on, until AAA-999. That one was followed by AAB-001 and I think you can understand the logic from this example (even though this system is not too logical in my opinion, because it neither shows where the car is from, nor when the plate was issued). You can also order personalized plates in 4 letters - 2 numbers and in 5 letters - 1 number formats, but those are more expensive.
Sometimes you can see very funny Hungarian license plates, such as the famous GOD-666, the GAY-xxx or the AS* - xxx series.

 

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In Estonia it's 999 AAA (99 AAA for US-type number plates)

There used to be a system where every county had it's own first letter but this has been abolished. What we've ended up with is a very chaotic system where you can practically see all kinds of number plates and you can't really tell where it's from or when it has been released. E.g. 001 ***, 001 ASS, 000 OOO, 111 III, etc.
For € 400 you can pick the combination of numbers and letter on your license plate(but it's still 999 AAA type)

For € 1300 you can have a customised license plate - up to 9 characters in total but at least one number and one letter.
 

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In Brazil uses a format with three letters and four numbers or two letters and four numbers.

 

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Euro Style NZ plates:


Typical plate configuration: LLLNNN
 

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Now we have dropped the provincial code, and we've got the euroband, 4 numbers and 3 letters, starting at 0000 BBB (Without vowels or Q, so only 20 letters avalaible. 80 million plates). Older plates can be remade with the euroband. The latest plate I saw was 2140 GYT.
Fortunately... without the provincial code used cars are much easier to sell in any part of Spain :) Nowadays when you buy a second-hand car from a different province you get a new plate. But with the old system, it was very difficult to sell your car in a different province (don't even think of selling a car from Barcelona in Madrid or vice-versa :lol:).

The special plates also use a different system:

Motorbikes <50cc (C is for Ciclomotor)
Special vehicles (tractors, ATVs...) (E is for Especial)
Historical cars
Trailers (R is for Remolque)
Tourist (I don't know why they exist)
Temporary - particulars
Temporary - companies - new cars (test cars etc)
Temporary - companies - used cars (second hand etc)

Also the different police forces, the army, the state administration etc have their own plates :nuts:

The first car to get the new plates was this beautiful second-hand Mercedes bought by a person from Álava from a person from the province of León (since Álava is the first province alphabetically, they received the very first plates the first day):


BTW the latest plate spotted is 7808 GZB so we'll get the 0000 HBB soon. Funnily, before such a change happens, the car sales slow down a lot because nobody wants a BZx/CZx/DZx/FZx/GZx plate (your car looks much older than CBB/DBB/FBB/HBB) :lol:
 

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Leudimin
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^^ Yep, but you don't know from where on Spain is a car! Fortunately, for cars aged 4 years or older, you can guess where the plate was issued thanks to the technical inspection vignette. And the latest plate I saw was 2141 GZB or something like that.
 
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