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Check Your VIN: Was Your Toyota Really Made in Japan?

2010 Toyota Hybrid Concept Car

2010 Toyota Hybrid Concept Car

How to Tell Where Your Vehicle Was Manufactured

Are you a tried-and-true buy-American car buyer? Do you believe all the hype that buying American is better for the economy and buying Japanese is causing our economy to fail? Or are you on the other side of the road, and you believe imports are a better buy and they last longer?

Whatever your preference, you may be surprised to learn that the Toyota you drove to work today was actually assembled in Northern California and the Volkswagen your neighbor is driving was actually manufactured in Mexico. Here is how to tell where your vehicle was actually manufactured, no matter what the model of the vehicle is.

Check the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) on your car. VIN numbers were first used by Detroit automakers in the 1950s and are now used by insurance companies and law enforcement agencies to determine a vehicle's true make, body style, and age, and the location of manufacturer. The VIN is usually in the front window, visible from the outside, right in front of the driver’s side.

Look at the first characters of your VIN number. The FIRST character of all VIN numbers identifies the location or country where the vehicle was manufactured, assembled, put together, and distributed from.

If the first character of your VIN number is a NUMBER, it means the vehicle was made in the USA, Canada, or Mexico:

Number at begining of VINCountry your car was made in

1, 4, or 5

USA

2

Canada

3

Mexico

6

Australia

7

New Zealand

8 or 9

South America

If your VIN number starts with a LETTER, it means the vehicle was manufactured somewhere overseas, outside the North and South American continents. The most frequently seen letters in the United States are J, K, L, S, W, and Z.

If the vehicle was made in Japan, the first character of the VIN number will be a J; if the vehicle was made in Korea – K; made in China – L; made in England – S; made in Germany – W; made in Italy - Z. Other countries have similar codes and can be researched online.

Letter at beginning of VINCountry your car was made in

J

Japan

K

Korea

L

England

W

Germany

Z

Italy

The SECOND character identifies the company or corporation that produced the vehicle. Each of the 17 characters in a VIN number means something—additional decoding information can be found on line.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

Question: Where do I find the VIN number on a Vitz KSP 90?

Answer: Most vehicles have a VIN number stamped on the inside door frame and on the inside of the front windshield.

Comments

Bill on August 21, 2020:

Thanks for this because Car Sales people a lying thiefs who will tell you anything to get you to buy a vehicle

Jennifer on February 02, 2020:

Thank-you for posting this article. Useful infromation!

Gladys on November 10, 2019:

Gladys I like the information thanks

Ike on June 04, 2019:

Dang it, my Camry was made in the USA rather than Japan.

authoreshan from Dhaka on March 26, 2012:

Informative article...Keep it up

Amirkhail on March 12, 2010:

hi, i like the picture and info. Thanks

joe on October 07, 2009:

there's also a sticker inside the drivers side door on the frame or door that says where, when, and who manufactured your car. No codes necessary!

Cynthia on August 19, 2009:

I really like the car in the picture!

Jacob on August 08, 2009:

Boy, was I surprised to discover our Chevrolet van was made in Canada! Cool article!

Casey on August 06, 2009:

I love the design of this Toyota! Thanks for the info about Was Your Toyota Really Made in Asia?

annvans on July 16, 2009:

Wow, this is very interesting! I did not know this, thanks for the info!