Guatemala increases the security of vehicle registration plates

German company produces 2.7 million number plates in Central America


  • Tax authority commissions TÖNNJES with production of vehicle registration plates
  • New plates with holographic security elements and track-and-trace code
  • Pandemic: company obtains special production authorisation under specific conditions
  • Joint venture in Guatemala City personalises number plate blanks from Panama

Delmenhorst/Guatemala City, December 2020. Situated between the Pacific and the Atlantic is the most-populated country of Central America: Guatemala. Since 2008, TÖNNJES has been active there through a local joint venture. Apart from a few brief interruptions, the German vehicle identification specialist has personalised all vehicle registration plates for the state tax authority, Superintendencia de Administración Tributaria (SAT), at a local production facility. And now TÖNNJES has received another order. By the end of 2022 the market-leading company will produce some 2.7 million number plates for Guatemala – and with greater security than ever before.

"SAT wanted a vehicle registration plate that could be neither forged nor manipulated", explains Olaf Renz, Managing Director of TÖNNJES. ‘So now, for Guatemala, we are producing the mostsecure analogue registration plates we have ever made.’ The new number plates carry three holographic elements that meet the same standards as the holograms on bank notes. They areimpossible to copy and they self-destruct if removed. "The Guatemalan government regards vehicle registration plates as an official document that must be protected accordingly,” Renz adds. "It’s the vehicle’s identity card, if you like." Not all of the competitors were capable of technically realising these security elements. Additionally, the back of the registration plate carries a barcode and an identification number, which enable a track-and-trace function. This means that the plates can be traced throughout the entire production process through to their
issuing to vehicle owners, so preventing manipulation.

The production facility in the Guatemalan capital normally employs ten people to personalise the registration plates. The blanks for these come from TÖNNJES’ hub in Panama. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the company had to fight for special authorisation and to adapt itself to various regulations and conditions to be able to process the SAT contract at all. "Despite this challenge, thanks to good teamwork and a good relationship with our customers, we managed to manufacture the items in a coronavirus-compliant manner and to deliver on time," says Renz. He added that this was partly thanks to the joint-venture strategy pursued by TÖNNJES. The company is represented by subsidiaries in over 50 countries, all of which have local shareholders. This enables the individual production activities to run largely self-sufficiently, while the transport routes are short and jobs are created locally.

Press Release Guatemala Dec 2020

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