If Delhi’s new designer vehicle registration plates are anything to go by, India seems to have become a part of the European Union (EU).
Cars bearing number plates like those used in the scenic continent –with EU’s flag of twelve yellow stars arranged in a circle against a blue background – along with the acronym ‘IND’ beneath it are common these days.
These ‘German Style’ plates, as they are called, are quite the rage, said plate makers and dealers in Karol Bagh — a hub of auto accessories and spare parts.
“These are presently our best selling plates. Car owners like them because their cars look so foreign with these new number plates,” said Sonu Srivastav, who runs a registration-plate shop in Karol Bagh. The plates are sold at Rs 800 a piece.
He said customers even replace their high-security registration plates ( HSRP) with the ‘German Style’ ones.
Nikki Kumar, a wholesale dealer of the number plates in Karol Bagh, agreed. It constitutes 40% of his total business these days , he said.
Kumar, Srivastav and others, however, are unaware that twelve yellow stars arranged in a circle against a blue background is the emblem of the European Union.
“This is just a new logo created by some Indian artist that has caught the fancy of car owners here,” Kumar said. He claimed the ‘German Style’ moniker was “because of their unique German fonts”.
While Srivastav offers customers a variation with white stars instead of yellow, Kumar caters to the price conscious with his stickers of the EU emblem for Rs 50 per piece.
The business has also gone online, with many Delhi-based manufacturers selling the plates on e-Bay for Rs 800-Rs 1,100.
Vendor Rahul Kapur of JMD Designs said Delhi is his biggest market. “Most of my customers are in the 20- 30 age group. I ship about 50 German Style plates every day.” Youngsters want to make a style statement with customised number plates, he quipped.
“Some even like to put their own name or that of their company below the circle of stars. I am not aware of these significance of the circle of stars, but people just love it.”
But aren’t such number plates illegal and don’t customers get in trouble with the traffic police?
“Not really. So far it has worked well in Delhi. It is just part of car accessorising,” said Kapur.