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Jaguar at the Dubai Motor Show file image

Car number plate enthusiasts splashed out more than AED21.4 million (US$5.8 million) at an auction staged at the recent Dubai International Motor Show.

Of the 105 plates that went under the hammer, the two-digit number plate ‘Q41’ attracted the highest bid of AED1.76 million ($272,000), followed by AED1.19 million ($324,000) for ‘Q55555’.

The 89th Dubai Distinctive Number Plates Public Auction, which was organised by Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) as part of the motor show, proved the emirate’s luxury car and number plate sectors continue to thrive, even though bidders claimed plates up for grabs were ‘cheaper’ than usual.

The RTA banner at the auction read ‘It’s not just a number, it’s a statement’, with buyers revealing the main reason for their purchase was their desire for this status symbol.

The 13th edition of the Dubai International Motor Show covered some 85,000 metres of floorspace at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre (DICED) and hosted 18 global launches, 139 regional reveals and 16 concept cars.

Supercars and vehicles from the latest James Bond film Spectre were also on display, while Rolls-Royce revealed its new convertible, the Dawn.

Show organisers said Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Aston Martin and Arab supercar company W Motors, all filled their order books at the event.

This year’s show was 30 percent larger than last year and featured more than 150 exhibitors with newcomers from Australia, Lebanon, the Netherlands and Russia taking part.

There were 600-plus vehicles on display and visitor numbers exceeded 100,000 over the five-day event period (November 10-14).

The success of the Dubai International Motor Show, the largest event of its kind in the region, reflects record GCC car sales in 2015, with figures to date revealing 1.88 million vehicles sold to date.