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World Manufacturer Identifier (WMI)

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What Is World Manufacturer Identifier (WMI)?


World manufacturer identifier is a number which is utilised globally by manufacturers of automobiles. With the help of this unique number a vehicle can be identified, thus the main purpose of this no. is to identify a vehicle; each vehicle is given a unique and a different number. Moreover, a manufacturer is assigned a different and exclusive number code which only that manufacturer of vehicles can utilise meaning there by each manufacturer has its own exclusive code. Different codes are assigned according to regions and countries also. For example –

1. Hyundai South Africa uses – AC5 and ADD as its initial code


Hyundai India uses – MAL as its code

2. Toyota South Africa uses – AMT as its code


Toyota India uses – MAJ as its code.

The initial character of WMI code defines the region/country of the manufacturer is located or its manufacturing plant is located. WMI is assigned to countries and manufacturers by Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) which is located in United States of America (US).

In the year 1981, National Highway of Administration of United States standardised the format of serial numbers. It requires all road vehicle sold to have a unique 17 character vehicle identification number (VIN). VIN does not include O (o), I (i) and Q (q) to remove any ambiguity which may happen with numbers 0,1 and 9 respectively.

Who is a manufacturer according WMI and VIN guideline?

A manufacturer can include a sole proprietor firm or a corporation under whose supervision a vehicle is assembled or formed as a complete product which is ready to be operated on road. It is the responsibility of the manufacturer, who is required to register and acquire VIN serial number. The consumer of such manufacturer has no role or liability in it.

Who implements WMI and VIN serial number in India?

Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) is the authorised agency in India to issue and verify WMI code in India. BIS is the nodal agency for issuing national standards in India. BIS has been chosen agency to issue WMI serial number because BIS is the member of International Organization for Standardization. The application for registration can be downloaded from the official website of BIS. The headquarters of BIS is located in New Delhi, and application for registration can be sent to department of International Relations and Technical Information Services Department located at BIS office New Delhi. Email-ID of the department is [email protected] .

VIN and WMI guidelines to be followed –

  • VIN is a unique serial no. which helps identify a particular manufacturer and individual vehicle.
  • It consists of 17 characters’ which uses both numeric’s and alphabets.
  • VIN is based on two standards that are issued by International Organisation for Standardisation in 1979 and 1980 that are – ISO3779 and ISO3780, respectively.
  • The standards made are compatible globally with slight difference in European Union and United States.
  • ISO3779 notifies content and structure of the vehicle.
  • ISO3780 notifies the WMI code

What is field of application of WMI and VNI code?

As per ISO3833 the following vehicles are covered under WMI and VIN code are –

  • Motor vehicles include cars, trucks and other commercial vehicles.
  • Mopeds
  • Trailers
  • Motor cycles

What are components of VIN and WMI?

Vehicle identification number consists of a total of 17 characters.

1 to 3 digits –

  • The first three characters of VIN denote World manufacturer identifier (WMI) number.
  • With the help of first three characters the manufacturer of vehicle can be identified, it is exclusively issued to the manufacturer and every manufacturer is issued a different code and no manufacturer can use somebody else code.
  • WMI is registered in US with Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).
  • WMI also denotes the region/country in which the manufacturer is producing/assembling the vehicle.

4 to 9th character –

  • 4th to 9th character denote vehicle descriptor section (VDS)
  • VDS is used to identify local regulation, the type of vehicle, the platform used, the body style and model of the vehicle. Different manufacturer use different ways of describing the vehicle in the serial no.

10th to 17th character-

  • The last seven digits are used by manufacturer to distinguish individual vehicles.
  • The last digits may include information about engines, transmission, options installed in the vehicle.
  • The last five characters of the serial numbers are numeric.
  • A consistent element of the 10th digit is that it denotes the model year of the vehicle.
  • 11th code denotes the factory of the manufacturer.

What is the registration fee?

The cost for registration is 5000 rupees + taxes that are applicable and have to be paid through draft in the name of BIS.

Application for world manufacturer identifier (WMI)

The application for registration can be downloaded from the official website of BIS and sent to BIS headquarter at New Delhi for approval.

The application of WMI includes the following details –

  • The full name of the firm or the individual applying
  • The full and correct details of telephone no., fax no., email –ID.
  • The complete address of the applicant.
  • The complete address of the production plant with name of city, district and state.
  • In case there is more than one plant then additional sheet has to be attached, giving complete details.
  • The telephone no., fax no. and email-id of the production plant.
  • GSTIN no issued to the firm or individual. 
  • Names and complete details (including designation) of top management like CEO, directors or high level managers, at least three members.
  • The scale of manufacturing that is whether it is large or small.
  • The organization structure whether sole proprietor, partnership or company (private or public).
  • The details of WMI code if granted earlier.
  • The proposed production date.
  • The seal and stamp of the firm along with signatures of the applicant.

Along with this application some more documents have to be attached that are –

  • A photocopy of incorporation, that is memorandum of association in case of company or Partnership deed in case of partnership 
  • A self attested copy of Udyog Aadhar Memorandum (UAM).
  • A certificate issued by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, allowing the manufacturer to produce automobiles.
  • A demand draft in favour of Bureau of Indian Standards payable at New Delhi of rupees 5000 + taxes applicable.

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