Such signs were not needed immediately, but only when the number of cars produced began to number in the millions. At first, they tried to restore order in the USA in the mid-50s, but there was no single standard and each manufacturer encrypted VIN codes in its own way.


VIN-vehicle number: how is it formed Treble Red Media
Vehicle Identification Number (VIN - Vehicle Identification Number) is a unique code that encrypts information about who, when, where and in what configuration released the car.

Only 30 years later, in the early 80s, the National Association of Traffic Safety in the USA will oblige all new cars to be marked with a 17-digit identification number. This will be the starting point in restoring order.

40 years have passed since the introduction of the standard for VIN codes, but the general principles of its formation have not changed. At first, the ISO 3779:1983 standard was used, later it was replaced by ISO 3779:2009 (current), now the development of its successor ISO/AWI 3779 is being prepared.

The structure of the VIN code 

The structure, sections, permitted symbols and recommendations for the formation of the vehicle's VIN code are described in the ISO 3779:2009 standard. The symbols used in the VIN code are a list of Latin alphabet letters and Arabic numerals allowed for use in the vehicle identification number: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F G H J K L M N P R S T U V W X Y Z 

It is forbidden to use three letters of the Latin alphabet to form a VIN number, since they are similar in spelling to each other or to Arabic numerals. We are talking about I (similar to 1), O (similar to 0 and Q), Q (similar to 0 and o). The vehicle identification number consists of 3 parts and contains the following information (VIN lookup for reference): 

  • WMID (World Manufacturers Identification) - manufacturer's index (3 characters); 
  • VDS (Vehicle Description Section— - descriptive part (6 characters); 
  • VIS (Vehicle Identification Section— - distinctive part (8 characters).


WMI, World Manufacturers Identification (World manufacturer Index) — determines the manufacturer of the vehicle. The first symbol indicates the geographical area, the second the country, the third - the car manufacturer's code. One manufacturer may own several WMI, but the same WMI cannot belong to two different car manufacturers (except in cases when the used WMI has not been used for more than 30 years, in which case it can be re-issued, including to another manufacturer, as well as for factories with a production volume of less than 500 cars per year). The table of WMI codes defining the country of manufacture is presented below (according to the current ISO 3780:2009 standard, see more here VIN check). The principle of formation is as follows: first letters of the Latin alphabet are used, then Arabic numerals (from 1 to 0). For example, two-digit combinations start with AA and end with A0. Some combinations are spare. Combinations signed "available in the region" mean that such WMI may occur on this continent, since they were issued according to older standards or by mistake, but are not officially issued at the moment. In newer standards, they may be assigned to other countries or regions.

Large factories have received their own three-digit index to identify cars of their own production, small factories (annual output of less than 500 vehicles) use combinations X* 9, Y* 9. The latter may be the same for a number of factories, so the distinctive digit-letter combination in the VIN code of the car in this case is written in the third, fourth and fifth characters of the car indicator section (VIS), or, in other words, on the 14-16 characters of the VIN.

Source: VIN lookup free.