The license plate. A seemingly arbitrary sequence of letters and numbers, or a clever personalized message showing off your dazzling personality. It may have even been manufactured using prison labor. If you have a vehicle, you have a plate. Probably two. Mounting your plate to the back is easy. There is a spot for it, an obvious recession in your intricately crafted bodywork. Affixing your vehicular fingerprint to the car’s front, however, is often not so straightforward. Most often, there simply is no obvious place for it. So what do you do? Do you give your car’s angry face some buck teeth?
General Motors solved this problem with the GMT900 generation of its full-size SUVs – the Tahoe and its cousins from 2007-2013. The truck’s fascia came from the factory with an indent perfectly sized to house a license plate. Inexplicably, GM removed this feature with the 2014 redesign of the Tahoe.
The scope of this problem varies among different vehicles. It is especially glaring on the 2020 Toyota Avalon, whose entire front fascia is the grille, save for the headlights, which of course cannot be obscured. How does one mount a front license plate on that car?
Then there are the hypercars. Of course, if you can afford one, you can probably afford a ticket for no front plate, if you even drive the car enough for that to be a significant risk, which you probably don’t. Nonetheless, take the Bugatti Chiron for instance. A front plate can either be mounted to the grille, which would be absurd, or to the front bumper on one side of the grille, which would ruin the car’s symmetry.
And so, the question remains: why don’t cars come with somewhere to mount a front plate? GM has shown it’s possible. All automakers have accommodated the requirement for a rear-mounted plate. There must be a better solution than drilling holes into the front bumper.