Mumbai: In a record breaking instance of people shelling out obscene amounts of money in their obsession with special numbers, a VIP car numbered "0001" has been auctioned off for Rs 16 lakh in Delhi this year.
The Delhi government has been encashing on man’s obsession with special numbers – be it for numerological superstitions or for a boastful display of one’s importance.
A private hospitality company called Palm Land Hospitality Pvt. Ltd became the owner of this unique numbered car during the Delhi government’s e-auction for fancy registration numbers for cars. The number that is popularly considered to be a status symbol for man, had 30 bidders.
The profile of such bidders is mostly the bigwigs of the city - politicians and industrialists. This is not the first time that people have willingly queued up to offer large sums of money for unique car numbers. The “0001” series was sold for Rs 12.50 lakh in September, 2014 and Rs 12.10 lakh in 2015.
People’s desire for unique car numbers – from obsession with date of birth to astrologically significant numbers, have augured well for the government’s cash register. “In just six months we earned Rs 54.70 lakh by selling 29 fancy registration numbers. Last year, we sold 151 and earned Rs 2.29 crore. The demand increases during winters and the festive season such as Diwali when car sales also peak,” said KK Dahiya, the city’s special commissioner of transport, in a report in the Hindustan Times.
Other such cases include craze for numbers that are famous in pop-culture – for example, a Bond-style “0007” was bid for Rs 10.40 lakh in 2015. Never mind that the actual Bond number is 007, of course.
People’s desire for head-turning car numbers have made them chase numbers like “0002”, “0009”, that do not particularly hold a common significance. The “0009” series was auctioned off for Rs 8.50 lakh in 2014.
This year, these tier-two “0007” and “0009” numbers were sold for Rs 4.10 lakh and Rs 3.90 lakh.
The base auction price for the highest-bid “0001” was Rs 5 lakh, while those from “0002” to “0009” started at Rs 3 lakh. Bidding for numbers like "0786" that signifies a talisman among Muslims started at Rs 2 lakh.
According to officials, the demand for fancy number plates has escalated over the years, especially after the auction was made fully online and after the red and blue beacons were banned this year. The Delhi government has therefore been conducting such auctions from 2014 to increase its revenues. Earlier the allotment of such numbers was purely discretionary....