‘Lucky’ license plates send used car prices soaring

By Anh Duong   August 10, 2023 | 07:35 pm PT
‘Lucky’ license plates send used car prices soaring
A car sold at triple market price thanks to its "lucky" license plate in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Duong
People are paying three or four times the market rates for used cars as they seek to own license plates with “lucky” numbers, which will soon stop being tradeable.

Hanoi used car dealer Phung Dai last month sold a Daewoo Matiz manufactured in 1998 for over VND300 million (US$12,600), three times its normal price. The car has a license plate with a number the buyer considers lucky: 596.96.

Vietnamese lay huge store by lucky numbers and are often willing to shell out big money for license plates with such numbers, but a new law that takes effect will prohibit their transfer.

From August 15 license plates will be linked to individuals and not vehicles.

This means that when a person sells a car they will take their old plate to any new vehicle they acquire. A desirable number cannot be transferred to a buyer.

As a result, in recent weeks car sellers have seen a surge in sales of vehicles with such numbers.

"Many buyers only care about the plate, not the car," Dai said, adding that they are looking for low-priced vehicles such as Kia Morning and Mazda 2.

Industry insiders say that a car with a lucky license plate goes for an additional VND100-200 million.

Car seller Minh Khoi in Hanoi’s Cau Giay District said many customers even place orders for vehicles with lucky numbers without even bothering about what comes with it.

"I have been receiving this kind of order every day for the last two weeks."

Tuan Diep, who has been in the license plate trading business for years, said the most sought-after license plates are 567.89, 888.88 and 688.88, often associated with blessings and wealth.

Some customers want numbers that are easy to remember such as 2233 and 5533, he added.

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