Thursday, July 01, 2004

The International VIN Trade

And we're not talking about the French word for wine either.

As noted in The Detroit News Article: Too many cars, too few digits, US Auto producers are running out of Vehicle Identification Numbers. The problem is a nice example of problems with centralized and anticipatory planning: a numerical scheme started in 1981 that was supposed to last 30 years when designed is now facing a shortage.

As simply adding digits to the 17 digit code would cause some massive reprogramming efforts, one of the creative ideas floated is to buy more of the VINS from other nations such as Botswana and other countries as [m]ore than two dozen countries, from Armenia to Zimbabwe, have up to 288 WMI codes each. All are dormant. Would this be a case of in-sourcing VIN numbers to offset outsourcing in other areas?

The article also has a nice graphical explanation that demonstrates how to decode your VIN number.

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