Sales of personalised registrations  – the UK equivalent of the US’s ‘vanity plates’ by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency have risen by more than 600% in the last 10 years.

In 1991 DVLA sold 26,161 personal registrations compared with 188,816 in 2001.

In a statement the DVLA said one of the reasons for the success of the scheme is the gradual evolution in the attitude towards personalised plates and the type of people who buy them.

Its research shows that in 1991 5% of those who bought personalised registrations were aged between 18 and 34 whereas by 2001, 21% were in that age-range, showing a definite increase in the number of young people wanting to give their cars a unique identity.

DVLA research also shows that more than 80% of customers who bought registrations did so because they saw them as fun and unique and while just 10% bought them as an investment, 80% bought them for personal reasons and intend to keep the number.

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In 1990 DVLA launched the select registration personalised number plate scheme giving British motorists access to a huge choice of registrations at more affordable prices.

To date DVLA has sold more than 1.2 million select registrations raising £640 million for the UK treasury.

Sales will show a seasonal increase in a few weeks as the new 52-series registrations become available with the six-monthly change on 1 September.

The DVLA offers over 9 million registration combinations at prices from £250 with new style registrations (51-series on) priced from £499.