565.3 Definitions. Vehicle Identification Numbers
Code of Federal Regulations
Title 49, Volume 5, Parts 400 to 999
Revised as of October 1, 2000
From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access
CHAPTER V--NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT
PART 565--VEHICLE IDENTIFICATION NUMBER REQUIREMENTS--Table of Contents
Sec. 565.3 Definitions.
(a) Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards Definitions. Unless
otherwise indicated, all terms used in this part that are defined in 49
CFR 571.3 are used as defined in 49 CFR 571.3.
(b) Body type means the general configuration or shape of a vehicle
distinguished by such characteristics as the number of doors or windows,
cargo-carrying features and the roofline (e.g., sedan, fastback,
(c) Check digit means a single number or the letter X used to verify
the accuracy of the transcription of the vehicle identification number.
(d) Engine type means a power source with defined characteristics
such as fuel utilized, number of cylinders, displacement, and net brake
horsepower. The specific manufacturer and make shall be represented if
the engine powers a passenger car or a multipurpose passenger vehicle,
or truck with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4536 kg. (10,000 lbs.) or
(e) Incomplete vehicle means an assemblage consisting, as a minimum,
of frame and chassis structure, power train, steering system, suspension
system and braking system, to the extent that those systems are to be
part of the completed vehicle, that requires further manufacturing
operations, other than the addition of readily attachable components,
such as mirrors or tire and rim assemblies, or minor finishing
operations such as painting, to become a completed vehicle.
(f) Line means a name that a manufacturer applies to a family of
vehicles within a make which have a degree of commonality in
construction, such as body, chassis or cab type.
(g) Make means a name that a manufacturer applies to a group of
vehicles or engines.
(h) Manufacturer means a person--
(1) Manufacturing or assembling motor vehicles or motor vehicle
(2) Importing motor vehicles or motor vehicle equipment for resale.
(i) Model means a name that a manufacturer applies to a family of
vehicles of the same type, make, line, series and body type.
(j) Model Year means the year used to designate a discrete vehicle
model, irrespective of the calendar year in which the vehicle was
actually produced, so long as the actual period is less than two
(k) Plant of manufacture means the plant where the manufacturer
affixes the VIN.
(l) Series means a name that a manufacturer applies to a subdivision
of a ``line'' denoting price, size or weight identification and that is
used by the manufacturer for marketing purposes.
(m) Trailer kit means a trailer that is fabricated and delivered in
complete but unassembled form and that is designed to be assembled
without special machinery or tools.
(n) Type means a class of vehicle distinguished by common traits,
including design and purpose. Passenger cars, multipurpose passenger
vehicles, trucks, buses, trailers, incomplete vehicles and motorcycles
are separate types.
(o) VIN means a series of Arabic numbers and Roman letters that is
assigned to a motor vehicle for identification purposes.
Courtesy of NHTSA