Monday, May 17, 2010

Yellow number plates in Denmark

Cars in Denmark must be the most expensive in the world. This little country with no car industry but heavy government emphasis on clean transport puts an approx 250% tax on all new cars.

What it means is the manufacturers are selling their cars for next to nothing (apparently the Germans cross the border to buy their Mercs) yet the price is still so prohibitive for Danes that most cars don't get much bigger than a small family saloon. Its why the Swedes often smile when they see a Danish Skoda packed to the brim pelting along the highway in Skåne.

There is one exemption however - buying a 2 seater car. In theory, this should really be a van and a consequent benefit to businesses large and small. In reality, it is more often than not an expensive car where the customer (and the retailer) rip out the back seats, tint the rear windows, and then pay an affordable price for a luxury motor. Instead of a white number plate, these 2-seaters have yellow plates.

Smart in principle, but it creates a different form of prejudice on the roads. White plates are regarded with respect, yellow plates a little distasteful. It gets worse the bigger and more expensive the car becomes. Take this example:

Porsche Cayenne white plate: seriously loaded (or mad)
Porsche Cayenne yellow plate: w*#ker

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