Decoding Your MINI's VIN.by Steve Baker.
The International Vehicle Identification Number (or 'VIN') is a 17 character code that is supposed to identify every vehicle made anywhere in the world since 1980 with a unique code.
It's quite easy to decode the VIN:
1=USA 2=Canada 3=Mexico 4=USA 5=USA J=Japan K=Korea Z=Italy S=England W=GermanySince MINI's are made un UK, you'd think they'd all have an 'S' in the first character - but they don't. It's a 'W' for 'Germany'!
A=Audi B=BMW 4=Buick 6=Cadillac 1=Chevrolet C=Chrysler B=Dodge F=Ford 7=GM-Canada G=General Motors H=Honda A=Jaquar L=Lincoln D=Mercedes Benz M=Mercury N=Nissan 3=Oldsmobile 2=Pontiac 5=Pontiac P=Plymouth 8=Saturn T=Toyota V=VW V=VolvoMINI's are made by MINI who have the letter code 'M'. Notice that there are several cases where two companies share the same code. That's OK because they don't manufacture in the same country. So WM means Germany/MINI and not Mercury because they would use 1M, 4M or 5M because they are made in the USA. Some companies made so many cars that they need more than one letter code - which is presumably why Pontiac has both '2' and '5'.
For MINI's, character 4 is always an 'R'. Character 5 is:
'A' for a MINI One 'B' for a MINI One/D, 'C' for a MINI Cooper 'D' for a MINI One Convertible, 'E' for a MINI Cooper'S 'F' for a MINI Cooper Convertible 'H' for a MINI Cooper'S Convertible.Character 6 is a '3' for all gasoline MINI's and '1' for the Diesel.
The next is '1' for a Left-Hand drive car, '2' is a Right-Hand drive car and (for some reason) all cars destined for the USA get a '3'.
The eighth digit was always a '4' in cars built before 2005 but some '05 models (and possibly later) are showing up with a '5' in this position. Some people tell me that this is something to do with the restraint system employed in the car which may have been redesigned in 2005.
A = 1980 B = 1981 C = 1982 D = 1983 E = 1984 F = 1985 G = 1986 H = 1987 J = 1988 K = 1989 L = 1990 M = 1991 N = 1992 P = 1993 R = 1994 S = 1995 T = 1996 V = 1997 W = 1998 X = 1999 Y = 2000
The first three characters are also known as the 'WMI' for World Manufacturer Identifier. Since some countries in the world are running out of VIN numbers, it is likely that some manufacturers will end up with more than one WMI code.