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OEM feedback leads to revised VIN label standard

25 Jun 2024

To carry out their task of getting finished vehicles from the vehicle manufacturer to the dealer network or final customer, LSPs, compound operators and shipping companies need to be able to identify individual vehicles and their destination. This is typically done by reading the distribution labels, also known as VIN labels, that manufacturers attach to vehicles before they leave the factory. Although the labels carry information that is human readable, reading in the finished vehicle distribution chain is usually done by scanning the barcodes that are also included.

In 2022, Odette and ECG (Association of European Vehicle Logistics) worked together with OEMs and Finished Vehicle LSPs, to establish a standard for the content, design, location and quality of these labels. Twelve months later, feedback from OEMs concerning their implementation plans has resulted in some revisions to the standard.

It was found that the prescriptive nature of the size of the label was difficult for those OEMs whose current process was based on using labels of a different size. The size requirement has therefore been relaxed which should make the standard easier to adopt by the OEMs. In the revised version of the standard the label can be of any reasonable size as long as the mandatory data is present, the data is human readable and the linear bar codes and/or QR codes can be consistently scanned.

Some OEMs told us that it was often not possible to include a specific destination or even a specific market on the label, as this could be changed during the transport process. The mandatory information concerning the destination of the vehicle has therefore been expanded to allow the destination port to be given, as it seems that this information is very unlikely to change once the vehicle has left the plant.

In the first version of the standard we announced that a separate study would be carried out on the use of labels on vehicles with full body covers but feedback from the OEMs indicates that the use of these covers has no impact on the position, content or quality of the labels. The standard has therefore been updated to cover vehicles both with and without body covers.

Volvo Cars is the first OEM to implement the standard more or less in its entirety while other OEMs have either implemented certain parts of the standard, such as the 3 character motive power type code, or have indicated that the standard will be taken as a basis for any subsequent upgrade of their labelling process.