This month, a registration number of the popular series 0009 went for Rs 10.1 lakh, the highest bid since the Covid-19 outbreak. This bid eclipses the one of Rs 7.1 lakh in July for a registration number of the same series. The other high bids in September were of Rs 3.1 lakh each for registration numbers of series 0003 and 0007.
After being closed in March owing to the lockdown, e-auction of fancy registration numbers restarted in April. However, only one registration number, of the series 9000, was auctioned and the transport department earned Rs 1.5 lakh. The next month, five registration numbers were auctioned for a total of Rs 9.3 lakh with 0022 fetching 2.1 lakh. In June, the department earned Rs 21.7 lakh, the highest bid being Rs 3.4 lakh for the number 0002.
In July, the department earned Rs 33.8 lakh through e-auction, including the Rs 7.1 lakh bid. The other high bids for the same number as part of different series went for Rs 4.2 lakh and Rs 3.1 lakh in the same month. In August, the numbers dipped slightly and the total revenue earned through e-auction of fancy numbers was Rs 33.3 lakh. However, officials believe that the cumulative e-auction figures, which would be calculated at the month-end, would be the highest since March.
From April to August, the department earned Rs 99.6 lakh. Compared with the same period last year, when the revenue was Rs 4.6 crore through e-auction, the current numbers appear very low. However, Delhi government officials believe this is a welcome sign. Unlike purchase of vehicles, buying fancy registration numbers is an extravagance. The fact that vehicle owners don’t mind spending on a fancy number an amount high enough to buy another affordable vehicle, shows that buyer confidence is slowly re-emerging.
Before the pandemic, Delhiites weren’t averse to splurging on fancy registration numbers. In June 2017, a Delhi-based hospitality firm created a record, which remains unbeaten, when it paid Rs 16 lakh for the coveted registration number 0001. The record prior to that was Rs 12.5 lakh, which was achieved in September 2014, again for 0001. The department has now run out of series with which the number can be provided. The other sought after numbers were 0009 and 0007, an official said.
The online e-auction facility for fancy registration numbers was started in 2014. It is conducted by Delhi Transport Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd on behalf of the transport department.