What is the application of Vehicle Identification Number(VIN)?

In the early 1980's the U.S. National highway Traffic Safety Administration (USDOT) required that all road vehicles must contain a 17 character VIN. The result was a unique "DNA" style number for each vehicle, where each character and its sequence identify a vehicle attribute.

How to read a VIN

1st character - identifies the country in which the vehicle was manufactured

2nd character - identifies the manufacturer

3rd character - identifies vehicle type or manufacturing division

4th to 8th characters - identifies attributes of the vehicle

9th character - verifies the accuracy of the transcription of the vehicle identification

10th character - identifies the model year

11th character - identifies the assembly plant for the vehicle

12th to 17th characters - identifies the numeric sequence of the vehicle production.


A Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) may be assigned by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) or local agencies. The VIN needs to indicate the issuing authority in the “DrivingJurisdictionAuthorityIDType”. The most common assignment of a VIN by someone other than the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) involves conversion vans and other truck-like vehicles where the VIN is assigned by the final manufacturer.


Example: Winnebago buys Ford 350 vans with a cab and a set of frame rails in the rear, after Winnebago adds an RV body, it assigns a VIN. The VIN reflects the manufacturer and model number given by Winnebago, not Ford. A less common case is a completed vehicle, which already has an assigned VIN that is transformed and then receives a new (replacement) VIN.