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Lemon Law Tip: Know where (what country) your vehicle was manufactured at

Recognizing what country your vehicle was manufactured at is an important piece of knowledge. Often times, I have potential lemon law clients who contact my office for a free case review, stating to me that they were misled or misinformed by the car salesman or dealership — they were told that the subject vehicle was assembled in the USA or Japan, when in fact, the vehicle originated in Mexico. Under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA), this might be a viable plaintiff’s cause of action.

Every vehicle has a unique vehicle identification number, also known as a VIN. The VIN is the “social security” number for vehicles, as no two vehicle can have the same set of numbers. Standardized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the VIN contains specific characteristics about the specific vehicle and is 17 characters long. Tracking the VIN is the best way to identify cars that may have a history or potential of lemon law-related defects or problems.

To determine where the subject vehicle originates from, check the first digit of the seventeen character VIN. If the number starts with a 1, then it is from the USA (i.e.: General Motors, Chrysler, etc). If it starts with a 2, the it is from Canada…3 is from Mexico,…and, etc.

1 = USA 2 = Canada 3 = Mexico 4 = USA 5 = Brazil J = Japan K = Korea L = Thailand S = Great Britain V = France or Yugoslavia W = Germany Y = Sweden or Finland Z = Italy

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