Since 1981, global automotive manufacturers have utilised a complex numbering system called a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), which uniquely describes a vehicle. This number provides a coded description of the vehicle including:
- year of production
- place of production and
- vehicle characteristics
How are WMIs assigned?
All UK WMIs are issued by the UK national standards body, British Standards Institution. Every country has a WMI coordinator who issues to car manufacturers trading out of their country a unique portion of a vehicle's 17-character VIN number, which identifies the manufacturer.
Purpose of the WMI Code
The World Manufacturer Identifier for vehicles, known briefly as the WMI Code, is part of the 17-character Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). The VIN consists of three sections:
- WMI = 3 characters
- VDS = 6 characters and the
- VIS = 8 characters.
The Vehicle Descriptor Section (VDS) and the Vehicle Indicator Section (VIS) will be determined by the manufacturer, as it not only describes the attributes of the vehicle, but allows the manufacturer to distinguish between one vehicle and another.
The WMI Coordinator is only responsible for assigning the WMI Code.