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manufacturers use the last three digits to number vehicles. Large annual volume manufacturers

use the last six digits.

The VIN has four sections. The first consists of the first three VIN characters. For large

manufacturers, these three positions represent a manufacturer identifier, which meets both the

requirements of Part 565 and International Standard 3780: Road vehicles – World manufacturer

identifier (WMI) code (Small manufacturers must use a six character manufacturer identifier

consisting of the first three VIN positions and positions 12 – 14). In International Standard 3780,

adopted by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 1980, the first three digits

of the VIN are referred to as the World Manufacturer Identifier (WMI). Although it is common

to refer to the first three digits of the VIN as the WMI, the first three digits will be referred to

here as the “manufacturer identifier” because Part 565 does not use the term “WMI.” Also, Part

565’s requirements for the first three digits of the VIN differ somewhat from those of

International Standard 3780 and it is Part 565’s requirements that are affected by the final rule.

NHTSA currently contracts with the SAE International (SAE) to coordinate and issue

manufacturer identifiers that comply with Part 565 to U.S. manufacturers. In issuing these

identifiers, SAE also ensures that the identifiers comply with the requirements of International

Standard 3780 for WMIs.

Part 565 currently requires that manufacturers identify manufacturer, make and type of

motor vehicle in the first three digits of a VIN. To comply with International Standard 3780, this

section of the VIN must also indicate the country in which the vehicle was manufactured.

The proliferation of vehicle makes for passenger vehicles has resulted in large

manufacturers with multiple makes of vehicles having to obtain multiple manufacturer

identifiers. This, in combination with large manufacturer identifiers issued to large

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