French number plates get facelift

The iconic French number plate is to be given a facelift as the French car registration system is overhauled.

New cars will receive a number plate printed with a registration number in black on a white background from 15 April, while number plates for second hand cars will be changed from 15 June 2009, either when sold, or when the Carte Grise (registration document) needs to be amended for any reason. The registration number (num�ro d’immatriculation) will be composed of 2 letters-3 numbers-2 letters and be linked to the car in question for life, rather than the owner, therefore simplifying the administrative procedure for buying and selling cars.

In addition, owners will be able to choose a departmental number, opting either for their home department or one that is particularly close to their heart, which will then be printed to the right of the number plate on a blue background, together with the relevant regional logo.

Cars can be registered throughout France at garages, or at the prefecture. Owners will be issued with a temporary registration certificate valid for one month, entitling them to drive the car immediately. The new Carte Grise will then be sent to their permanent address in the space of a week.

Owners will no longer be required to change number plates when they move to a different department or buy a second hand vehicle.