Car Dealership License Plate Covers: Why? I Don’t Want Those

Why do dealerships always put logo license plate covers on your new car? I guess the bigger question is: why do we keep them even if we don’t want them? It doesn’t make sense. The covers are not attractive and not high quality. In fact, they cheapen the car, no matter how fancy the dealership. A few days ago a Maserati whizzed by me on the freeway. The driver, clearly proud of his new purchase, weaved in and out of traffic a good twenty miles faster than the rest of us. When he raced by me I saw the logo license plate cover and snickered. To me it looked no different than the guy with the thousand-dollar-suit sipping his non-branded whisky while his sales tags hang from the back of his jacket; or the woman with the fancy shoes she bought at the discount store but forgot to remove the price tag from the bottom of her shoe.

When I bought my new car I could not wait to drive it; so clean and shiny, a fresh start with no scratches, no gum on the floor mats, and no funky smell that lingered for years after a very long, wet camping trip. I waited impatiently for the car to emerge from the mysterious back building where it was prepped for delivery. The toothy grin of the salesman was getting on my nerves as he handed me the extra set of keys and bulky owner’s manual.

As the mechanic drove my new purchase towards me I spotted them: metallic logo license plate covers. The make of the car splashed across the top in italics and the loud dealership logo in bold face on the bottom.  My smile faded. My shoulders slumped. In my most gracious voice I ask the salesman to remove them. He looked at me a bit surprised as if to say: “What did you just ask me to do?”. He was confused why I wanted them removed. I was confused why they were there. Did I miss something in the sales pitch? Did I unknowingly agree to advertise the dealership?

When I asked for a set of brand free covers I was told that there weren’t any. What? I just paid for a new car and all I wanted to do was drive home without dealership advertising surrounding my no-nonsense plates. I had to wait thirty more minutes while someone tracked down the special tool used to remove the license plate covers (apparently there’s a different tool than the one used to attach them). I could almost hear the whispers: “That person just doesn’t get it. This is the way it’s done”.

Really? Since when? And why does it continue? I was irritated that this practice had indeed become a practice – one that no one – or apparently very few – questioned. Dealerships across America we don’t want your license plate covers. We know what kind of car we are driving and where we bought it. Please stop. Find another way to market yourselves.

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