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Old 06-23-2015, 10:30 AM   #1
jwoods986 OP
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Where our bikes are made (plant codes)

I couldn't decide where this topic should go, so mods feel free to move where you see fit, and a sticky would be nice.

I'm getting tired of reading that this or that bike is made in India, Thailand, or somewhere else it shouldn't be. If I buy a Triumph, it better be assembled in England, a Ducati in Italy, a BMW in Germany, etc, etc. I think what finally pushed me over the edge (after reading a comparison last week of a Triumph Scrambler and Ducati Scrambler and the article mentioned both are made in Thailand), was reading yesterday that starting in 2016, BMW F700s and 800s are going to be built in India - F*** that!

So I did some searching and found that the 11th digit of the VIN is a plant code that tells you where the bike was assembled. Unfortunately, I haven't had much luck figuring out the codes (and they seem to be specific to each manufacturer - i.e. and 'A' for Honda doesn't mean the same plant as an 'A' on a BMW). So how about a thread for folks to list what plant codes they know? Maybe broken down by manufacturer? I think it would be a good reference.
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Old 06-23-2015, 10:44 AM   #2
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https://www.cyclepedia.com/motorcycle-vin-decoder/
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Old 06-23-2015, 11:16 AM   #3
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If the bike is reliable, I don't care where it was built. Globalization means that manufacturing in developed nations costs more, and shipping isn't free. Sometimes this balances out, which is why so many Honda cars are made in the US. Other times it will be shipped anyway, so if another country can supply cheaper labor, great. It is up to the parent company to provide quality control, and Kawasaki as an example has done brilliantly at this for over a decade.


Disclaimer: my BMW was made in Germany. If they could have knocked a few grand off assembling it in Thailand, that would have been ok with me.
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Old 06-23-2015, 11:25 AM   #4
jwoods986 OP
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Originally Posted by atomicalex View Post
Not quite. In my search for the plant codes, I came across many sites like this where you enter your VIN. Just for fun, I entered my CB1100 VIN (11th character is a K), all it tells me is that is the plant code, not what plant K is.

Let me clarify. I would like to build a list of manufacturers and their plant codes - and what the code means (i.e. what plant). For example, if someone knows the Triumph ones they could enter:
Triumph
Plant 'X' is the Hinkley plant
Plant 'X' is the Thai plant
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Old 06-23-2015, 12:13 PM   #5
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First digit of the VIN is the key: 1, 4, & 5 are US, 2 is.Canada, 3 is Mexico, W is Germany, K is Korea, I recall L is China. I'm sure Google will get a complete list.
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Old 06-23-2015, 12:17 PM   #6
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" L " is for China ?! That's Laciist !!
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Old 06-23-2015, 12:28 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Jarlaxle View Post
First digit of the VIN is the key: 1, 4, & 5 are US, 2 is.Canada, 3 is Mexico, W is Germany, K is Korea, I recall L is China. I'm sure Google will get a complete list.
No, that's the tricky part. The first digit is where the company is based, not where a vehicle is made. For example, VWs start with a W because VW HQ is Germany. But many of their vehicles are made elsewhere (Mexico for example). That's why the plant code is the key piece, it tells you where the vehicle was actually assembled.

Just checked Wikipedia again, the first 3 are called the World manufacturer identifier (WMI), but the point remains that it has nothing to do with where the production is. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehicl...ication_number
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Old 06-23-2015, 12:34 PM   #8
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I would think that a good place to start would be to contact each manufacturer via email. I can't see why they wouldn't be willing to share that info.
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Old 06-23-2015, 12:35 PM   #9
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I'm no help at all. But I do wanna see where this goes.
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Old 06-23-2015, 01:57 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by jwoods986 View Post
So I did some searching and found that the 11th digit of the VIN is a plant code that tells you where the bike was assembled.

Technically, the 11th space in the VIN of both my Triumphs is taken by a letter so it's not a digit. If it were a digit, I guess it would be 20 because it is the 20th letter in the alphabet. But 20 would take two spaces so someone decided to just use T and T means both my Triumphs were assembled in Thailand. Js would mean they were assembled in England.
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Old 06-23-2015, 02:55 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by jwoods986 View Post
The first digit is where the company is based, not where a vehicle is made. For example, VWs start with a W because VW HQ is Germany.
Then please explain why we have had VWs that start with 9 and 3, in addition to several of the W kind.

Because 9 is for Brazil and 3 is for Mexico. Where the cars were actually manufactured.

Edit - I think we had a 1, too. Somerset, West Moreland County, PA.
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atomicalex screwed with this post 06-23-2015 at 06:16 PM
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Old 06-23-2015, 04:33 PM   #12
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I was a bit disappointed my Triumph was assembled in Thialand, but the quality of parts and the quality of assembly seems better than anything else I sat on, rode, touched. Especially the Japanese bikes. They used to be the quality standard, now they just feel cheap. The engine was made in England, many of the components too. What I find confusing is they cast and forge engine parts in Thailand, send them to England for machining, anodizing, heat treating, assembly and testing, then send the assembled engine back to Thailand for installation.
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Old 06-23-2015, 04:36 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwoods986 View Post
No, that's the tricky part. The first digit is where the company is based, not where a vehicle is made. For example, VWs start with a W because VW HQ is Germany. But many of their vehicles are made elsewhere (Mexico for example). That's why the plant code is the key piece, it tells you where the vehicle was actually assembled.

Just checked Wikipedia again, the first 3 are called the World manufacturer identifier (WMI), but the point remains that it has nothing to do with where the production is. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehicl...ication_number
That's not true, as pointed out already. In the car world the first digit is where it was assembled
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Old 06-23-2015, 04:42 PM   #14
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There are no bikes built in the United States that fit the bill for me, so as long as the bike is reliable, I don't care where it was built.

I would pay for a good standard, dual sport, or good scooter made in the United States, however, if anyone would make one.
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Old 06-23-2015, 05:06 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by atomicalex View Post
Then please explain why we have had VWs that start with B and 3, in addition to several of the W kind.

Because B is for Brazil and 3 is for Mexico. Where the cars were actually manufactured.

Edit - I think we had a 1, too. Somerset, West Moreland County, PA.
atomicalex is correct, and the 1st digit applies to motorcycles also. As an example, while most Yamaha motorcycles are built in Japan (1st digit "J"), some of their scooters are built in Taiwan ("L"), and a few models of smaller motorcycles are built in Brazil ("9"). Yamaha ATV's and Side x Sides assembled in the US have a "5" for the first digit.

The 11th digit is reserved for a plant code, but it sounds like you're mainly concerned about what country the bike was made in.

You can find all of this info by googling "World Manufacturer Identifier" or WMI.
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