Musical heritage featured on new car tag design

Mississippi’s musical heritage is highlighted on the state’s new car tag design, which was revealed today by Gov. Haley Barbour and Toyota president and CEO Akio Toyoda.

The men attached the new license plate, featuring B.B. King’s renowned guitar “Lucille,” to the first official Mississippi-made Toyota Corolla shortly after it rolled off the assembly line at an event marking the start of production at Toyota’s plant in Blue Springs.

The Corolla’s tag was marked as “TMM-MS1” (named after the facility, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi 1) and located in Union County, the new home of Toyota’s newest facility.

“The new car tag pays tribute to Mississippi’s artistic culture and one of our greatest musical legends, B.B. King,” Barbour said. “I appreciate the work of the Department of Revenue and Mississippi Development Authority to create the new design, which recognizes Mississippi’s rightful position as the Birthplace of America’s Music.”

The license plate was designed by Lucy Hetrick, an artist at the Mississippi Development Authority. The plate features the slogan “Birthplace of America’s Music” and B.B. King’s signature guitar. The words “Celebrating Mississippi’s Creative Culture” surround the guitar.

The plate will be available beginning Oct. 1, 2012. It replaces the Biloxi Lighthouse, which debuted in 2007 to commemorate the Gulf Coast’s resilience in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The state’s license plate design changes every five years, as mandated by law. The newest design was approved by the Car Tag Commission, comprised of Gov. Barbour, Attorney General Jim Hood, State Treasurer Tate Reeves, and Commissioner of Revenue Ed Morgan.

There are 2.6 million passenger vehicles in Mississippi that will carry this plate, allowing the state promote and celebrate its musical heritage as Mississippi drivers travel across the country. The Department of Revenue also anticipates interest from license plate collectors, who request unique designs for their collections. Sample plates are $5 and will be available in October 2012.