vGroup International, the UK’s leading provider of motor accessory essentials, is expanding with the launch of a new division, vPlate, coinciding with the soon-to-be-introduced first regulatory changes to vehicle number plate design for 17 years to improve legibility.
The launch of vPlate is aimed at shaking up the UK vehicle number plate market with the company adopting a new manufacturing process using sophisticated cutting-edge laser technology delivering improved durability, impact resistance and increased reflective performance thus aiding visibility.
The developments coincide with expansion in the use of cameras to monitor vehicle movements whether through ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) or to manage entry to the London Congestion Charge zone and next year’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone in the capital, use of the Dartford Crossing and forthcoming Clean Air Zones in towns and cities nationwide.
vGroup International currently supplies some 1,200 pairs of number plates per day to the fleet market - typically contract hire and leasing companies and major end-user fleets. It will continue to supply that sector, but with the launch of vPlate anticipates significant growth into the franchise dealer, vehicle manufacturer, used car supermarket and motor factor sectors, which have hitherto remained untapped.
The new vPlate vehicle number plates have been unveiled to customers and prospects who have each received a vPlate ‘box’ showcasing the new product, which gives customers a real choice on price, quality and service delivery to the benefit of the market.
vGroup International’s expansion plans coincide with the anticipated September 1, 2018 introduction of British Standard (BS) AU145e, which will replace BSAU145d and notably focuses on improving the readability of number plates. However, the exact date the British Standard regulation changes has still to be confirmed.
James Nash, managing director, vGroup International, said: “We have designed and launched a brand new product, significantly enhanced to meet the much more stringent regulations that has some real benefits to the market and end users. The manufacturing process for vPlate’s number plates is so significantly different to that currently used and we want to grow the vGroup brand, hence the launch of vPlate.”
Martyn Nash, chairman, vGroup International, said: “The UK vehicle registration market is dominated by a handful of organisations, but vGroup aims to be different and break that stranglehold by offering a real alternative choice.”
He continued: “We believe that the new British Standard is so strict that many organisations, particularly dealers and motor factors manufacturing their own vehicle number plates, will struggle to meet the new regulations. That particularly applies to undertaking due diligence on customers with one in 12 number plates on cars on UK roads cloned.”
vPlate’s new number plates are made from 3mm thick acrylic polymer featuring hermetically sealed edges ensuring they are abrasion and scratch resistant and deliver protection against bending, impact, abrasion, corrosion, solvents, weathering and extremes of temperature to prevent delamination and thus ensure optimum visibility while also being 50% more reflective. Vehicle number plates from vPlate come with a five-year warranty beating the previously available three-year plate warranty.
Additionally, the key changes to number plate design and vehicle fixing with the forthcoming introduction of BSAU145e, which also specifies the typeface, the size and colouring used, are:
Martyn Nash said: “The regulations are designed to improve the readability of vehicle number plates by ANPR and other cameras. We believe the law will be strictly enforced by the authorities - the police, the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency and, on its behalf, MoT stations. We have also taken the opportunity to redesign vehicle number plates to both conform to the new British Standard and maximise lifetime usage.”
James Nash concluded: “vGroup International has been a trusted advisor to fleets, contract hire and leasing companies and the wider motor industry for almost 30 years. We have a duty to ensure that our customers are compliant which is why we have launched vPlate.”
NB: Vehicle number plates must conform to British Standards or manufacturers can be fined up to £2,500 and/or be banned from supplying them. The penalty for driving a car with an illegal number plate is a fine of up to £1,000, plus an automatic MoT fail.