Change Spanish license plates from September

by Lorraine Williamson
new car license plates

MADRID – From September we will see license plates in Spain that start with the letter ‘M’. This update from the Spanish traffic authority DGT was the latest license plate in Spain with the letter combination ‘LZX’. 

That means the ‘M’ will reach the new vehicles in the coming days. Since September 2019, cars have been produced and sold with number plates that start with the letter ‘L’. Moreover, that means it took about three years for the letter to be completed. 

This data can be interpreted positively according to broadcaster SER, as this period also includes the months of the pandemic, which has been a major drag on car sales in Spain. Consequently, now forecasts indicate that vehicles with ‘MBB’ number plates will start circulating on Spanish roads from September. 

Letter combination indicating the province of origin 

Nowadays you can easily find out the age of a car through the license plate. This registration system was changed in September 2000. Before that, number plates were given a letter combination indicating the province of origin, such as ‘MA’ for Málaga, ‘M’ for Madrid, the ‘B’ for Barcelona or ‘VA’ for Valladolid. In addition, the ‘E’ of Spain was added to the blue flag of the European Union. 

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How are registrations in Spain? 

At the time, the new vehicle registration system did not go down well with the nationalist parties who wanted to keep the provincial awards on the license plate. One of the motivations behind the new system was also to “raise citizens’ awareness in favour of European integration”. Many Spaniards also wished to put an end to provincial designations because that would facilitate sales between the various autonomous communities and provinces. 

First license plate in Spain 

The first license plate registered in Spain is “000BBB”. This is because the system does not include vowels in its combinations to avoid offensive combinations. Therefore, the Ñ or Q are not used to avoid confusion with N and O, or the number 0. Also, ‘LL’ and ‘CH’ are not used, as they are incompatible with the plate design. 

These are the combinations per registration year so far: 
  • BBB to BZZ: September 2000 – October 2002 
  • CBB to CZZ: October 2002 – September 2004 
  • DBB to DZZ: September 2004 – May 2006 
  • FBB to FZZ: May 2006 – February 2008 
  • GBB to GZZ: February 2008 – December 2010 
  • HBB to Nose: December 2010 – November 2014 
  • JBB to JZZ: November 2014 – June 2017 
  • KBB to KZZ: June 2017 – September 2019 
  • LBB to LZZ: September 2019 – September 2022 

Also read: New cars in Spain require ISA system for speed control

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