VIN Incorrect Country of Manufacture? [Archive] - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums

VIN Incorrect Country of Manufacture?

03-26-2005, 06:04 PM
I was at a site that deciphers VIN codes.

My X3 VIN starts with WBX. W represents Germany, B BMW, X vehicle type etc..

X 3.0's are manufacturerd in Graz Austria - so why would the VIN read Germany?

Country of Origin codes are WA-W0 Germany and VA-VE Austria according to this site:

Then I came across this curious article that maybe explains it:

"BMW is currently embroiled in a battle with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) over the company's switch in VIN code characters, which help indicate the country of origin. Its X5 sport/utility wagons and Z3 sports cars, which are made only at BMW's Greer, South Carolina, factory, are being marked with the first VIN character of "W," indicating Germany as the country of manufacture, instead of the character "4," which was assigned to the Greer factory. U.S. plants are indicated by the characters " 1," "4" or "5."

BMW spokesman David Buchko says the company began the switch to "W" last vear "to reflect our confidence that these vehicles are every bit as good as anything built in Germany We are in compliance with the regulations," he says, "We couldn't change the identifier without the consent of NHTSA. They know and have given their approval.

Dorothy Nakama of the NHTSA chief counsel's office, which is investigating BMW's switch, responds: "That can't be true. If anybody here did that, they didn't have the authority." The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) assigns the first three VIN characters, identifying maker and country of manufacture, with the blessing of NHTSA.

The end result could be confusion for technicians ordering replacement parts or dealing with insurance companies. The confusion is created by the first character being "W," for Germany, and the 11th character being "L," which is BMWs internal code for the U.S. factory. Some insurance company and legal enforcement computers could flag the VINs of BMWs U.S.-built products as "bogus" and mark them for insurance fraud investigations."

03-27-2005, 01:11 AM
If the X3s only come from one factory in Graz there souldn't be any confusion when ordering parts etc.