Feature Story–A single Al & Ed’s Autosound franchise has become the first car audio dealer in the country to become an installation service center for a new type of electronic license plate, called rPlate.
rPlate is rolling out to several states offering the ability to customize your license plate, creating a “digital bumper sticker.” It also permits users to electronically register with the DMV (especially useful for fleets), display amber alerts and even to display advertising.
The plate is being sold through car dealers but its parent Reviver, is also setting up installation centers, the first of which is Al & Ed’s in Venice, CA owned by Joe Shemula.
Reviver is currently in a test market to sell to rPlate to up to 175,000 drivers in California (or up to 5 percent of drivers). It is in the process of expanding into Arizona and then Texas and Florida.
A spokesman said, “We are adding several more states next year. We’re waiting on legislative approvals. Washington State has just approved it.”
He added that Reviver is adding service providers to support installation in the markets it is entering.
Shemula said, “My two cents on the product is it is a good quality product, with secure brackets and straight forward installation. It’s a good opportunity. It’s 1.5 to 3 hours worth of labor.”
The plate requires running wires from the battery to the license plate, similar to running wires to a backup camera, as the plate requires a constant 12 volt power source.
“The shortest install I was able to do on an easy car was maybe an hour,” added Shemula.
He believes it could become a welcome new profit center. “Let’s be honest. Every car has a license plate so you can no longer throw a curve ball at us and say the car comes without a license plate,” Shemula said, referring to the current design out trend in infotainment systems in new cars.
“I see it as one of those items, if it survives, it could become something car audio shops can work on. Car dealers don’t even know how to install aftermarket bolt-ons let alone something that requires power. I see it as something that will help the 12 volt market.” said Shemula.