What is the Importance of World Manufacturer Identifier Code?

calendar21 Dec, 2022
timeReading Time: 4 Minutes
What is the Importance of World Manufacturer Identifier Code?

Globally, car manufacturers adopt a numerical system called the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to identify a vehicle uniquely. The VIN includes of 17 characters that uniquely identify the vehicle. The World Manufacturer Identifier (WMI) is the first three characters of the VIN that uniquely identify the vehicle’s manufacturer. The following six characters of VIN are known as the Vehicle Descriptor section, and the last eight are known as the Vehicle Indicator Sector. The World Motorization Institute (WMI) is an international standard that applies to all passenger cars and trucks, lorries, motorbikes, trailers, towing vehicles, and mopeds. Over 25 years ago, the first world manufacturer identifier (WMI) code distribution per country was created. Until 1981, there was no agreed standard for VIN numbers, therefore different manufacturers used varied formats. But a lot has changed since then. In this article, we will discuss Importance of World Manufacturer Identifier Code.

For e.g.:

  • MEX for Volkswagen India
  • MEE Renault India
  • MBR Mercedes-Benz India

What is World Manufacturer Identifier Code?

Illustrative chart of VIN/ World Manufacturer Identifier Code:

VIN POS ISS0 3779 Description
1-2 WIM country code
2-3 Manufacturer
4 VDS Vehicle Line
5 Series
6 Body Type
7 Restraint System
8 Engine Type
9 Check Digit
10 VIS Model Year
11 Plant Location
12-17 Sequence Number

The manufacturer must obtain a World Manufacturer Identifier Code (WMI) before manufacturing a product or vehicle for on-road use.

WMI stands for World Manufacturer Identifier Code and comprises the first three characters of a VIN. The World Manufacturer Identifier Code refers to the first three characters of the VIN that uniquely identify the vehicle’s manufacturer (WMI).

When combined with the other portions of the VIN, the WMI ensures that the vehicle identification number is unique for all vehicles manufactured worldwide for the next 30 years.

WMIs are assigned to countries and manufacturers by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) in the United States. For code assignment, each ISO national member body designates an organization that acts on behalf of the international agency responsible for the maintenance of WMI codes.

BIS[1], as India’s National Standards Body and a member of the International Organization for Standardization, serves as the WMI coordinator in India, assigning WMI codes to vehicle manufacturers after they are assigned by the Society of Automotive Engineers Inc. in the United States, the international agency responsible for maintenance of WMI codes.

These procedures were developed to assist in identifying the vehicle as to its point of origin. Issuance of a WMI by a single organization will avoid duplication of manufacturer identifiers and assist in the identification of vehicles by agencies such as those concerned with motor vehicle titling and registration, law enforcement, and theft recovery.

History of Vehicle Identification Number

In the United States, vehicle identification numbers were first used in 1954. These numbers allowed manufacturers to connect production to orders, although each manufacturer had its own numbering schemes.  

There was no recognised format for VINs between 1954 and 1981, hence various manufacturers adopted various formats.

A universal numbering scheme was developed in 1981 and adopted by all automakers. As a result Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) consisted of 17-digit alphanumeric code was adopted for every vehicle in the world.

What the Components of VIN / WIM?

Before gaining an understanding of the significance of the World Manufacturer Identifier Code, it is crucial to examine the different components of VIN:

  • WMI Number

The initials of the VIN make up the WMI number. It is a unique number that designates the manufacturer and the location where the automobile is made. The WMI number would be shown by 1-3 of the 17-digit serial number.

  • VDS Section or VDS Number

Vehicle Description Section or Vehicle Description Number are both referred to as VDS. Typically, this number would be used to describe the parts of a specific car. The WMI number is followed by six letters that constitute the VDS portion of the 17-digit VIN. 4 to 9 would be the VDS part under the VIN number.

  • VIS Section

The Vehicle Indication Section is the last set of numbers in the VIN following the VDS. As implied by the name, this number would allow you to identify the vehicle’s primary identifying features. The VIS portion would be represented by the final eight numbers. 10-17 would be the VIS Section’s VIN number representation.

Importance of World Manufacturer Identifier Code

All the automobiles that are being manufactured in India require a World Manufacturer Identification code; therefore, WMI is mandatory for the manufacturers of such automobiles. There are numerous advantages to registering with WMI in India. The following are listed below:

  • Quality Standards

By obtaining this registration, the automobile manufacturers may rely on quality producing requirements. Another advantage of such type of registration is conformity to the SAE criteria. India’s BIS is a member of the International Standards Organization (ISO). Taking this method of registration will so ensure quality compliance.

  • Recognition

World Manufacturer Identification registration will indicate where the manufacturer is from ultimately setting the automaker apart from other producers.  

  • Compliance with International Norms

By adhering to the norms of the BIS and registering with WMI, an opportunity to be in compliance with global standards. As BIS liaises with the SAE when it comes to issuing of WMI code for vehicles manufactured in India. 


BIS prices for this service may vary depending on the product type, with a starting price of INR Fifty Thousand plus applicable taxes and so forth.


A Vehicle Identification Number, made up of all 17 characters, is exclusive to your automobile, moped, scooter, truck, etc. and can be used to discover vital details about it. The VIN aids in insurance assessment, establishing the vehicle’s authenticity (in the case of buying a pre-owned car or vehicle), confirming the engine’s legitimacy, and tracing the vehicle in the event of theft. You now understand where to look for, how to read, and how to decipher your car’s VIN. You now have access to a wealth of information about your car, giving you more authority as a driver. Try it out; look up and decode the VIN of your vehicle.

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