CommentaryDec 1st, 2003

It's 11 0 clock. Do You Know Where Your Demo Plates Are?


Heading back to my hotel at 11 O clock after a long frustrating day on the road, I was driving south in the left lane. Suddenly a car pushed by me on the right, cut in front, flashed the car ahead, crowded by on the left shoulder, and disappeared in the traffic ahead of me.

Since my business is related to license plates, I couldn't help but notice the dealer demo plate stuck on the trunk lid of the vanishing vehicle. Imagine, I thought. "A dealer demo plate on a car this late at night." I couldn't believe that it was out on a demo drive. I had always thought of myself as an aggressive driver but this guy, well he made me look like a boy scout. I wondered where that demo plate came from. I knew it didn't belong to any of the dealers who were my customers- their plates would all be safely locked up.

I thought of some of the dealerships I had visited that day who had told me they controlled their demo plates by collecting a big deposit from their salespeople, making them responsible for looking after their plates. I wondered if any of those dealers realize that, despite their arrangements with their salespeople, they are legally responsible for those demo plates.

I wondered if those dealers know that 70% of all the money paid out by insurance companies is directly related to losses due to the use of demo plates. Dealers know that all the assets of their dealership are at risk with every demo plate when it is on the road. They are also aware of the fact that insurance companies, in an attempt to reduce losses, are requiring higher deductibles, passing on a large portion of the cost of repairing the damages found on vehicles in inventory to the dealership. I wondered why dealers if they are aware of all of these things, don't take some sort of action to reduce their liability exposure. Why don't they get some sort of demo plate control system for their dealership? Why aren't they beating a path to my door?

Suddenly, as the brake lights flared up in the mist in front of me and I had to pay a hasty visit to my own brake pedal, I realized that it was because dealers obviously didn't know the hard simple facts. For some reason the truth about uncontrolled demo plate use and the associated costs are not being made clear to dealers.

The DMV and state regulators like collecting all those fees for the hundreds of unnecessary demo plates they issue to dealers every year. Insurance agencies and brokers are, perhaps more interested in coverage and premiums than the exposure of their clients. Even the schools, companies, and universities offering sales and management training, won't explain the facts to dealers.

It seemed to me that I was probably the only one out there trying to convince dealers that they were over-exposed and in danger and that there was a simple solution available. That solution? demo plate control! A good demo plate control system would have prevented the driver of the car that passed me on the right a few minutes earlier from having access to a demo plate to put on that car, to go speeding through the night putting some dealer's livelihood at risk. It's 11 O clock... Do you know where your dealer demo plates are?

Bernard Boule president of M-Tech has designed and developed products for the auto retail industry for 20 years. He holds numerous patents, trademarks and copy- rights. He can be contacted at 1.800.642.4522 or at [email protected]

Authored by

Bernard Boule

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