Decoding the new license plates from LTO

With so many more propulsion options – hybrids (mild, series, parallel) and pure electric, classifying between different motorcycles and motor vehicles is not as easy as it used to be. Not to mention the phenomenal rise in Philippine passenger car sales which peaked at 295,459 units in 2017, but remained in the mid-250K until 2019. The appetite for new cars is back after the pandemic after the local market picked up 226,403 new vehicles in 2022.

This brings us to the Land Transportation Office’s (LTO) new memo stating the ‘Uniform Policy on License Plate Series.’ It classifies motorcycles and vehicles by region and propulsion type. That should make the registration process easier plus faster delivery of incentives and perks (discounted Motor Vehicle User’s Charge, priority renewal, and registration, among others). It will also make it easier for traffic enforcers to identify, which will be handy during ‘number-coding’ days.

Decoding 2023 PH license plates image

Philippine vehicle license plates, whether for motorcycles or motor vehicles, always start with a letter. That represents the region where it was initially registered. The National Capital Region (NCR) gets N, P, Q, T, U, and X. The others are as follows:

         Region 1     A, I

         Region 2     B

         Region 3     C, R, W

         Region 4A   D, O

         Region 4B   V

         Region 5     E

         Region 6     F

         Region 7     G

         Region 8     H

         Region 9     J

         Region 10   K

         Region 11   L

         Region 12   M

         CAR            Y

         CARAGA     Z

         Government vehicles get S

Private plates still follow the above but the remaining letters and numbers are at the discretion of the vehicle owner.

Decoding 2023 PH license plates image

Now here comes the tricky part. For motor vehicles, the second and third letters are based on the body style, propulsion, or age. Let me clarify. The second letter for private trailers is U, while vintage vehicles get a TX, TY, or TZ. For electric vehicles, the second letter could be anything from A to M, while hybrids are from N to Z. The last letter is either V, W, X, Y, or Z. What about the numbers? It could be anything.

Motorcycle plates have a different format. The leftmost letter is followed by three numbers and the last two letters. The second letter is either V, W, X, Y, or Z for electrics and hybrids, but the last letter is a choice between A to M for electric-powered models and N to Z for hybrid units. Vintage motorcycles get TX, TY, or TX, while government-owned two-wheelers use S.

Decoding 2023 PH license plates image

With the resumption of plate production announced, it will only be a matter of time before we see these new plates bearing the new series out on the roads. If you own an electric motorized unit, a hybrid, or a vintage model, get in touch with the LTO and find out how to apply for your new license plate.