Drivers count mounting cost of number plates

NEW drivers will bid for 7,500 car number plates at this month's auction, a record number, so far this year, to meet demand during the prime car sales season.

Beijing Commodity Auction Co, the auction organiser, announced that an extra 600 private tags for number plates will go under the hammer in the monthly auction on September 21st, compared with 7,500 announced last Friday.

"It's normal to offer more number plates at this time of year because September and October are the prime car sales season," said Xiao Gungyi, an official from Beijing Information Center's automotive industry research office.

China sold 1.13 million motorvehicles in August this year, traditionally a slow month for sales, according to China's Association of Automobile Manufacturers. That was the sixth consecutive month to see a sales of over 1 million.

Number plates on Beijing's second-hand market have cost as much as 38,500 yuan (US$5,700) recently.

Analysts said it was possible the auction price could exceed 41,000 yuan this month.

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