Want to Know Where a Vehicle Was Made? UAW Explains How to Read a VIN

Assembled in the U.S. does not necessarily mean a car or truck was made by union workers. 

Jimmy Settles
Daniel Mears—AP

For consumers looking to buy made in America vehicles, it's a fairly simple matter of looking for a one, four or a five to start off the vehicle identification number, also known as the VIN.

Any of the three numerals tells you that the vehicle was assembled in the United States, while a VIN beginning with a 2 indicates it was assembled in Canada and a VIN beginning with a 3 indicates the vehicle was made in Mexico.

The second spot on the VIN tells you who the manufacturer is, while the 11th spot lets you know what plant your vehicle is from. 

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But the United Auto Workers is hoping consumers will take their car shopping a step further, to ensure their purchase was made by union workers. It's also hoping car shoppers will consider vehicles made by its union counterparts in Canada. 

To that end, the UAW has a 2017 shopping guide that lists cars and other products made by union workers. 

It also has a chart so consumers can figure whether a specific vehicle is assembled, as the UAW puts it: "in a plant that has workers who are earning a decent wage and helping their communities remain stable."

United Auto Workers