Published: 5.2.20

Updated: 17.7.24

At RiiRoo we sell thousands of ride on toys every month and due to the sheer number of options available it can sometimes be confusing with all of the many different terms we mention.

With any luck, this article will answer one of the most popular questions we get asked (almost on a daily basis): -

What is the Difference Between Licensed and Unlicensed Ride On Car?

Ride-On Cars Comparison

Feature Licensed Ride-On Cars Unlicensed Ride-On Cars
K A Branding Official logos, badges, and stickers of the car brand No official branding; may use terms like "style" or "inspired by"
Design accuracy Closely resembles the real car model May look similar but with less exact styling
Licensed cars undergo rigorous quality checks to ensure they meet brand standards, while unlicensed versions may have varying quality control processes.
Level of detail Generally higher, with more features and accurate styling May have fewer details and features
Price Often slightly more expensive Generally more affordable
Build quality Similar to unlicensed, but may have slightly better finish Comparable to licensed versions in overall build
Voltage options Higher voltage generally means more power and speed
Same range available (6V, 12V, 24V, 36V) Same range available
Assembly required Yes Yes
Parental remote control Available on most models Available on most models

Licensed Ride On Cars

All RiiRoo licensed ride on cars and toys are manufactured under the supervision and blessing of the parent company’s engineers and brand holder. More specifically, the brands we work with are Bugatti, Mercedes, Lamborghini, Ford, BMW, Maserati, Bentley, Audi, Volkswagen, Land Rover and Jaguar.

example of a licensed ride on car

In essence, they give the manufacturer the licence to use their badges, stickers and exact styling. Often, it is really hard to distinguish between the toy and the real thing. The amount of hard work and expertise that goes into making these replicas is truly astounding.

The brand owner oversees the overall quality and look of the cars and ensures it lives up to their standards. Any car designed and produced and manufactured that doesn’t is normally rejected.

If you are unsure whether a car is licensed or unlicensed, oftentimes the website will either display it in the title or description of the product page.

Unlicensed Ride On Cars

As you have probably worked out already? An unlicensed ride on car is exactly the opposite of a licensed one. 

The manufacturer does not have a licence to use the branding, badges or stickers of the brand owner. However, what they often do is produce near replicas of the real thing, but without the branding.

example of an unlicensed ride o car

Again, if you are unsure whether it is a licensed or unlicensed version, simply check the title or description of the car. With regards to the title it will describe the car using the term “style.” This means the car looks like the real thing but will not display any badges or stickers.

Quiz: Licensed vs Unlicensed Ride-On Cars

Related: Differences Between Petrol and Electric Ride-Ons


What About Build Quality?

The build quality of both types of car is similar. However, the licensed versions will normally have more detail and slightly more features. 

The fact that the manufacturer can use the badges and stickers automatically makes the cars look different (especially with badges on the front grill or bonnet) 

Is There Much of A Price Difference?

To be honest, there is not that much price difference at all. Due to the competitive nature of ride-on cars. All of the cars sold at RiiRoo tend to be priced as competitively as possible.

Does Either Of Them Come Assembled?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t make any difference which version of the car you buy, they will both need to be assembled. However, if you do require your car to be assembled, the option is once you add the car to the cart.

What Voltage Is Available?

There is no difference in voltage between an unlicensed or licensed car at all. So if you want either a 6V, 12V, 24V or 36V ride on car. Any of these voltages are available with all cars based on whether the retailer stocks them or not.

Do These Cars Come With Parental Remote Control?

If you purchase a ride on car with RiiRoo, the vast majority of ride-on cars we sell comes with parental remote control which means you (as the parent) have the ability to override the controls whenever you like.

It also means that if your child is unable to control the car themselves, you can still purchase one and control it on their behalf. That way, when they are mature or old enough, they can grow into the toy meaning it’s a toy that will last you a lot longer.

Safety and Certifications for Kids Ride-On Cars

Both licensed and unlicensed kids ride-on cars should meet safety standards and certifications. However, licensed products may be more likely to undergo rigorous testing. Here are some important certifications to look for:

CE (Conformité Européenne)

European certification indicating compliance with health, safety, and environmental protection standards for the European Economic Area.


U.S. standard for toy safety, covering mechanical and physical properties, flammability, and toxic substance content.

EN71 (European Standard for Toy Safety)

Covers mechanical, physical, flammability, chemical, and electrical properties of toys, particularly relevant for ride-on toys.

ISO 8124

International standard for toy safety, similar to EN71, covering mechanical and physical properties, flammability, and element migration.

UL (Underwriters Laboratories)

Relevant for electrical safety. Look for UL listings on battery chargers and electrical components.


U.S. law requiring toys and infant products to be tested and certified to meet safety standards, including limits on lead and phthalates.

When choosing a ride-on car, whether licensed or unlicensed, look for these certifications to ensure the product meets recognized safety standards. Licensed products may be more likely to display multiple certifications, but many high-quality unlicensed products also meet these important safety benchmarks.


Who Else Sells These Ride On Cars?

Note: These are not recommendations since we have never had any dealings with these companies (Oftentimes, retailers go out of business, so we can't keep this list updated).

Our Advice: Before you purchase a car from an online retailer, please check out the reviews (inc Google reviews) first and ensure they are a UK limited company. They should have a similar company number like we have - Company Reg: 09747709. Sometimes the websites look British, but, are indeed Chinese.

eBay sellers

Amazon sellers


Outdoor Toys


Epic Stuff 

Electric Ride On Cars 

Kids Cars Direct



Ride On Warehouse



The Model Hut

Smyths Toys

The Gift and Gadget Store


How do licensed ride-on cars compare to unlicensed ones in terms of warranty and customer support?

There is generally no significant difference between licensed and unlicensed ride-on cars in terms of warranty and customer support. Both types of ride-on cars typically offer similar warranty periods and customer service, which are primarily determined by the retailer or manufacturer rather than the licensing status. It is always important to review the warranty details and customer support options provided by the seller for any ride-on car you are considering.

Are there differences in the resale value of licensed and unlicensed ride-on cars?

Licensed ride-on cars tend to have a higher resale value compared to unlicensed ones. The brand recognition and higher build quality associated with licensed models make them more appealing to second-hand buyers. Unlicensed ride-on cars, while still functional, may not hold their value as well due to the lack of brand association and potentially fewer features.

Do licensed and unlicensed ride-on cars have different availability of replacement parts?

Replacement parts for licensed ride-on cars are generally easier to find because they are supported by well-known brands that ensure parts availability. For unlicensed ride-on cars, finding replacement parts can be more challenging, as they may not have a dedicated support system or standardized parts. Before purchasing, it’s advisable to check the availability of replacement parts for the specific model you are considering.

How does the assembly process differ between licensed and unlicensed ride-on cars?

The assembly process for both licensed and unlicensed ride-on cars is usually similar, requiring some basic tools and time. However, licensed ride-on cars often come with more detailed instructions and better customer support, which can make the assembly process smoother. Unlicensed cars may have less detailed instructions, and you might need to rely on online resources or customer reviews for additional guidance.

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