Presented by ThePlateBroker.com.
Michael Modecki, founder of ThePlateBroker.com discusses the license plate aftermarket, the growing opportunity for plate sales in the United States, and how the California plate “MM” is positioned to be the international branding catalyst Mercedes Maybach needs.
In late May 2022, Mercedes-Benz issued a press release outlining their long-term ambitions as the world’s most valuable luxury car brand and emphasized their intention to shock people with the Maybach marque.
“The Mercedes Maybach brand identity is the most recognizable use of the letters ‘MM’ in the world, so of course they have been on my radar as a potential buyer,” said Michael Modecki, whose company ThePlateBroker.com has listed the ultra-rare California license plate ‘MM’ for $24.3 million. “(The license plate) has been called many things: opulent, ludicrous, insane, astounding, extraordinary. People around the world are talking about it and waiting to see who acquires it. Right now, it seems like a perfect fit for the ambitions of Ola Källenius and Daniel Lescow,” referring to the CEO of Mercedes-Benz and the head of Maybach, respectively.
The license plate aftermarket is a big business in many wealthy countries, appealing to the same demographic that Mercedes Maybach hopes to attract and retain. “Plates are an internationally recognized symbol of status and scarcity. They are one-of-one by design and function, so they are the epitome of exclusivity,” Modecki continued. “In comparison, look at the history of domain name values. Dot coms have evolved into coveted assets, and companies are paying millions of dollars for short, easily identifiable ones. We’re seeing the same thing with usernames on Insta(gram), Twitter, and TikTok. From a marketing and visibility perspective, I think owning the world’s most valuable license plate would benefit a luxury automobile brand whose goal is shock and awe.”
When questioned about the asking price, Modecki had this to say, “The current world record of $14.3 million was set in 2008. When you adjust for inflation, that’s just shy of $20 million today. The asking price leaves no room for doubt that a new world record will be set when the plate sells.”
The idea of high value license plates may seem ridiculous to some, but the niche market appeals to the right people. License plates have seen a steady rise in value over the past decade, making them a non-traditional investment opportunity. Modecki added an NFT aspect to his plate offerings. “Ultimately, the value lies in the plate and the ability to register it to a vehicle. The NFT is meant to record ownership history onto the blockchain forever. There is value in verifiable provenance. Personally, I think Maybach would be able to sell the plate in the future for a profit. Officially owned by the most valuable luxury car brand in the world? There are people who’d buy that in an instant.”
For now, it all makes sense in theory. Despite having some fantastic plate offerings listed for sale in addition to MM (CASH, CINEMA, and COMPOSE, to name a few), ThePlateBroker has yet to complete a high-profile transaction. “I’m not worried,” Modecki says enthusiastically. “It will happen.” His confidence is justified. License plate sales in other countries continue to make headlines around the world. It’s almost surprising that it hasn’t caught on in a market like California. Perhaps Mercedes-Maybach will shock us all and be the tipping point ThePlateBroker is looking for.
Photos courtesy of ThePlateBroker.com and PalominoMotors.com