On the Chopping Block: 56 Texas Vanity Plates

License Plates Texas

The official vendor for specialty license plates in Texas, My Plates, is in the process of formally notifying over fifty organizations that their plate design does not meet the state’s new minimum requirement of 200 plates actively in-use.

This new requirement became effective December 1st, 2014 as part of the My Plates renewed contact with the state, but will not impact the state’s vanity and military plates, which are not at risk of being removed. Under the new threshold requirement, vendor plates that don’t meet the minimum of 200 plates actively in-use over a given year are at risk of being permanently removed from the program.

As of December 1, 2014, plates have up to a maximum of 365 days to meet the threshold. During this period, they must also meet the periodic milestones outlined below to ensure progress is being made towards the threshold.

In order to keep their plate in the market, they must achieve each of the following quarterly sales targets:

  • 90 days (March 15, 2015) – minimum 50 plates sold and in-use
  • 180 days (June 13, 2015) – minimum 100 plates sold and in-use
  • 270 days (September 11, 2015) – minimum 150 plates sold and in-use
  • 365 days (December 15, 2015) – minimum 200 plates sold and in-use

There are currently 56 plate designs in total that are below the threshold and are at risk of being removed should they not meet the periodic milestones. My Plates has been working with each of the organizations in an effort to reach the sales targets.

“We first contacted each plate organization mid last year to inform them of the new sales threshold and started working on plans to lift their sales,” said Steve Farrar, President of MyPlates.com.

The plates at greatest risk are those that currently do not meet the first sales target of 50 plates sold and in-use.  These plates have until March 15, 2015 to meet that target or they will be removed from the market. Some notable plates within this group at greatest risk are Fort Worth Zoo, Boise St. University and the 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. plate design.

“We’re hopeful that the fans who wish to support their organization will now purchase their specific plate to avoid it being permanently removed,” said Steve Farrar.

For those plates that do not meet the sales target and are subsequently removed from the market, the existing plate holders may keep their plate until their plate term expires.  Hence, if someone purchased one of these plates for a 5-year term prior to it being removed, they will get to keep the plate for the full term purchased.

Not all plates are on the chopping block. The number one specialty plate offered by My Plates is the Lone Star Black plate. Since November 2009, more than 55,000 have been sold in Texas and each and every year the Lone Star Black plate has achieved the number one sales ranking.

“The Lone Star Black plate, having the large star in white with the plate background in white is very popular as it looks good with every car color” said Steve Farrar.

In fact, My Plates states that the top five revenue-generating plates are all black and white. The least popular plate in the My Plates program is the Lake Dallas ISD plate that launched in September 2011 and can only boast having four plates still in market.

There are a number of observations that can be made when looking at the list of plates under 200, including:

  • Of the fifteen Texas high schools within the My Plates program, only one school, Carroll ISD has actually met the sales target.
  • Four of the eight charity plate organizations within the program are at risk. The charities safe are the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Glory Gang Ministries, the Peace Officer’s Memorial Foundation and the World Wildlife Fund.
  • There are ten sports and outdoor plate designs that are below the threshold including recognized brands such as NASCAR (four plates), Texas Motor Speedway, Houston Rockets and Houston Dynamo.
  • Six of the seven plates within the Business plate category are at risk including, Dr. Pepper, Keller Williams and Ignite Energy.  The only business plate safe is RE/MAX.
  • Sixteen College plates are at risk.  Five of those are Texas colleges with the other eleven being from out of state.

Since November 2009, Texans have purchased more than 215,000 My Plates, putting more than $28M in the general revenue fund, which helps pay for services for all Texans.

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