London 2012: AA welcomes Olympic-themed number plates

Women stand next to car with personalised number plates in June 1958
Image caption Personalised number plates are nothing new

The Automobile Association is welcoming the move by London 2012 organisers to launch personalised Olympic-themed car number plates.

From June, motorists will be able to buy registrations including GO11 DEN, GB12 ROW and RUN 100M.

"There is a small but enthusiastic band of drivers who like to have distinctive number plates," Paul Watters from the AA told the BBC.

"The Olympics excite most people and the plan is for the legacy to live on."

He added: "These number plates are another small way of people doing that."

The Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has become an official licensee of London 2012 and will release the plates on 7 June.

There will be 1,750 registrations on sale at a three-day auction in London and buyers will get an official box set to accompany the plate.

Nearly 400 plates of the new plates will be Olympic-themed.

"We are happy the sales are permitted as there is an appetite for them and for some people a reminder of the event may be something they want to cherish," Mr Watters added.

Games fans

"We are delighted to welcome the DVLA as the latest addition to the London 2012 merchandise programme," Locog commercial director, Chris Townsend said.

"I'm sure that the plates will really strike a note with fans of the Games."

DVLA rules state that motorists are not allowed to use a new personal number plate to make a vehicle appear newer than it is, so a GB12 ROW number plate would have to be used on a car registered after March 2012.

The DVLA sells around 250,000 registrations per year and the record for the highest figure paid at auction is the number 1D which sold for £352,000 in 2009.

In January an AA/Populus survey found that nearly one in 10 men in the UK have a number plate that carries their name or initials.

Overall, 11% of 18,138 AA members polled have a "special" number plate - either bought from the DVLA or transferred from a previous car.

Women are far less impressed with only 5% driving with a personalised plate.

"According to psychologists, some motorists need personalised number plates to demonstrate a sense of individuality, to mark their success or even show the world that they have a sense of humour," Edmund King, AA president, said.

"For some, however, behind the conscious motivations lie unconscious needs or desires, driving them to put on a show to the rest of the world. For others the plate is merely to keep up with the Joneses and disguise the age of the car."

The DVLA is one of the last licensees to be appointed by Locog before the Games.

It is estimated that London 2012 merchandise will generate more than £1 billion worth of sales, contributing more than £80m to the staging of the Games.

By July, an estimated 10,000 merchandise items will be on sale in the UK.

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