I always thought the first number in a VIN meant that country the car was
built in. Nothing to do with content, but where the car was actually built.
My Bonnie has a '1', as it was built in the US. Trans Am's and Impala's have
a '2' cause they are built in Canada.
Some US built cars have a 4 or 5. Mike keeps saying that those with 4 have
40-70% US content and those with less than 40% have a 5. He said a retired
engineer friend of his said this was so. Yet, Mike has never been able to
provide any evidence that this is so. Nothing I have found is consistent
with his view. The truth is, it used to be only 1's, but they had to add 4's
and 5's when there were not enough IDs for manufacturers left in the 1
My US assembled Sonata has a 5. It is 25% US, 75% Korean parts. Of course,
it still may be just a new series of numbers as you point out.
This has some information, but not correct.
They state the first digit is the country, but 5 is not listed. They then
state the second digit is the manufacturer, buy my Hyundai has an "N", they
say is for Nissan.
This shows a 5 as US
The first 3 characters indicate what is called the "world manufacturer ID,"
or WMI. The first digit indicates the country or region of manufacture. For
example, 1, 4 and 5 are US, 2 is Canada, 3 is the rest of North America, and
J is Japan. However, it is all three characters that identify a
manufacturer, not just the 2nd one. For example, 1ME is a WMI for Mercury,
while 1M1, 1M2, 1M3 is one for Mach Trucks. The reason why 5 was not listed
is probably that 5 was added last as a US VIN, because it needed more
numbers than was possible with just 1 and 4 as the first digits, because so
many different companies make trucks, cars, motocycles, off-road vehicles
(off-road vehicles have their own VIN system, but it shared VINs with
on-road vehicles until a few years ago), construction equipment, fire
trucks, buses, etc. Usually, the type of vehicle is identified as well, like
pickup, SUV, sedan, motor cycle, etc. That is why there are more than one
VIN for Mack.
So it is a combination of all three characters, not just the first two that
identify the maker (and the type of vehicle), including the country it was
The reason for the '5' is that vehicle has less than 40% US content, not to
be confused with the NA parts label that applies only to parts.
I'm not sure of the meaning of the 'N' designation without doing more
research, but the Mustang since 2005 is currently being built in the former
Mazda Flat Rock plant and the manufactures assembly plant designation is
"ZVF" not 'FBP' as was the 2004, built in Ford Rouge plant that now building
the 2008 Taurus
You are free to believe whatever you chose, but lets apply some logic that
easily disproves your 'many different vehicles' theory for more than one
digit being assigned to the US, rather than just one as is the case for
Most ambulances are build on Ford truck chasses and thus use Ford VIN
numbers. A piece of farm equipment, or whatever, would have the
manufacture designated by the digit following by the first digit that would
be different from each other and different than a car or truck manufacturer.
The body, plant, engine etc., numbers would all be different as well. The
digit that defines the type of SRS would not even be needed on most. If the
number built, of a single manufacturer of a single model, with single engine
in a specific assembly plant exceed the six sequential number assigned to
those particular vehicles, the check digit is changed allowing for 999,999
more to be built in that plant, of a single manufacturer, of a single model,
with single engine
Knowing that, what in the world leads your opinion that it is the number of
vehicles that requires the US to use 1, 4 or 5? If that is all of the
evidence, as you call it, you found, do more search WBMA. The government
body that defines WHICH number, 1, 4 and 5 as they apply to vehicles
assembled in the US, is the US Department of Commerce
the reason why there are three different first digits
Still having a problem with logic when it comes to VINs I see. Tell me from
your source what YOU know to be the number or letter that is applied to the
VIN for the engine in a 500? The body code for an F150 RWD and 4WD. How
about a E150, or a Lincoln Town Car? How about the letter for the drive
type for a Caterpillar dozer, or the engine type on a Harley Fat boy? ;)
When did I ever say anything about the US code? Try looking in the right
place, WBMA. I might point out you can NOT find anything that would lead
you to believe your 'so many different vehicles' theory either because that
is not factual. You might also look to the FTC to find the Honda complaint
about Toyotas misleading advertising, regarding 1, 4 and 5 as well ;)
Please stop saying I got my information from a other engineer, that is not
what I said.. What I did get from him was the place to find the reason for
the three different numbers assigned to vehicles assemble in the US, rather
than just one.
OH NO!! Does AL Gore know about that!! One of our greatest natural
resources: VIN's - wasted :)
(To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my
address with the letter 'x')
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