Second Stage Manufacturers

NHTSA states requirements for manufacturers of motor vehicles and motor vehicle


  • Some motor vehicles are the end result of a chassis from a primary manufacturer and a box or body from a secondary manufacturer. A vehicle of this type is normally thought of as a “special purpose” or “limited purpose” vehicle.
  • In most cases, but not all, applications for titling and registration on vehicles having undergone this process will have two Manufacturer’s Statements of Origin (MSO)/Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin (MCO).
  • NOTE: The model-year of the box or body; not the chassis, is normally used as the model-year.


  • EXAMPLE: School Bus
    • Chassis: General Motors, Dodge or John Deere (or other manufacturers) might make the chassis (frame, engine, rear axle & steering) and provide an MSO (#1)
    • Box: a motor home or school bus company (also called a “box” company”) places a “box” on the chassis; making a “completed” vehicle with its own MSO (#2).
  • Both MSOs represent the “Completed” vehicle. When available, both MSOs should be surrendered with the first title application. However, if each MSO has a unique Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) for each part, the VIN associated with the chassis should be used to create the certificate of title.
  • Some second-stage manufacturers DO NOT issue a second MSO:
    • An example of this is a fire truck or large wrecker manufacturer. Either might use a chassis (or chassis cab) from Kenworth, Peterbuilt, Mack or other large truck manufacturer. The fire truck or wrecker manufacturer only places a work body on the chassis and they do not materially change the structure of the vehicle. Under those circumstances, they may or may not issue a second MSO. As in the above example, the VIN associated with the chassis would be used to identify the vehicle.
  • Some second-stage manufacturers do issue a single/original MSO:
    • Fire trucks are the best example of this situation. A truck-tractor manufacturer (Kenworth, Peterbuilt, Mack, etc.) sells chassis to a second stage manufacturer who materially alters the chassis. The second stage manufacturer uses the VIN from the truck-tractor for their company’s MSO because they do not issue a new VIN. The “Make” might be (as an example) American LaFrance and the “Model” might be Fire Truck; but the VIN is issued by Kenworth, Peterbuilt, Mack, etc.
  • Some second-stage manufacturers are not federally licensed manufacturers:
    • These companies consider themselves second-stage manufacturers but they are actually using “Glider Kits” purchased from the original manufacturer (Kenworth, Peterbuilt, Mack, etc) to re-build an existing truck-tractor.
  • Year/Model
    • There is almost always a discrepancy between the VIN year for the chassis and the VIN year for the box or body. The model-year of the box or body is normally used as the model-year, and is normally the VIN used for Title & Registration. That information should coincide with the sales invoice.
  • Examples of second-stage manufacturer vehicle types are:
    • Motor Home
    • School Bus
    • Wrecker
    • Street Sweeper
    • Cement Truck
    • Ambulance
  • Examples of vehicles that are not necessarily from second-stage manufacturers:
    • Farm trucks
    • Delivery trucks
    • Limousine
    • Hearse

MSO Recreational Vehicles

  • Please note that you should manually override the VIN decoded information if necessary to reflect the make and model year indicated by the final stage manufacturer (MSO). After manually changing the make, if the transaction does not verify you should choose the option to force the VIN. 
  • Example:
    • For multi-stage vehicles, the Model is often listed as the Make on the MSO. In the example below, the Make is Keystone (large print at the top of the MSO) and the Model is Cougar (listed as the Make in this example). The correct way to enter the information below would be: Make-Keystone, Model-Cougar, and Model Year-2014.


Have more questions? Submit a request


Please sign in to leave a comment.