, 30 tweets, 10 min read Read on Twitter
1/ In this thread, I cover much of what I think I know about VINs. If I do my job correctly, you’ll fully understand the ‘aha moments’ that come later. But first, read my disclosures.
$TSLA #ExplainTheVINs
2/ Every vehicle produced has its own unique vehicle identification number. VINs can tell you a lot about a car, including the manufacturer, vehicle attributes, model year, and so on. Read more here:


3/ Here’s an example of a $TSLA Model 3 VIN. I’ve partially decoded some of what the VIN means (the important parts).
4/ The life of a VIN begins when $TSLA applies for it with the NHTSA. See this headline from @InsideEVs for example. By ‘VIN #2136’ they mean the VIN serial number 2136. Manufacturers apply for VINs sequentially, but they don’t necessary produce vehicles in the same order.
5/ A great resource to learn about which VIN serial numbers $TSLA has applied for is @Model3VINs. That account tracks Tesla’s NHTSA registrations. And now you know how they differentiate between RWD and AWD! $TSLA
6/ Tom Randall famously uses the highest VIN serial number registered with NHTSA as a partial proxy for Model 3 production. Many in $TSLAQ believe $TSLA applies for more VINs than it intends to produce in part to influence this model.
7/ When a vehicle is produced, it is assigned a VIN. You can see the VIN by looking through the windshield near the driver’s side. This is the DNA or fingerprint of your car, and is used for everything from getting it titled, dealing with recalls, etc. $TSLA
8/ Now the interesting part. When you purchase a vehicle, the dealer (or $TSLA, who acts as both manufacturer and dealer) registers your VIN with the state DMV to indicate that it has been sold. Note, this is different than the NHTSA registration process. $TSLA
9/ The DMV must be notified for a variety of reasons. They issue registration documents and titles, and sales tax collected by dealers (or $TSLA) has to be remitted to the state in a timely manner.
10/ In all but a few cases, the state DMVs forward on registration information to the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS). Currently, NMVTIS captures about 94% of all DMV registrations in the US. Read more here: vehiclehistory.gov $TSLA
11/ Counting DMV (and by extension, NMVTIS) registrations is a great way to track automobile sales across various manufacturers. As one might imagine, such knowledge is valuable, and many companies collect and sell detailed registration data. $TSLA
12/ The market leader and gold standard in automotive registration data is IHS Markit. Through my own investigations, I have concluded that they almost certainly rely very heavily on DMV and NMVTIS data to make their estimates of vehicle sales by month/quarter. $TSLA
13/ As it pertains to electric vehicles, @InsideEVs is considered another go-to source for deliveries estimates. Inside EVs uses a more holistic approach to estimating deliveries, although they’ve never fully revealed their methods. $TSLA
14/ Let’s shift to the $TSLA Model 3. One issue with @InsideEVs is they only estimate US deliveries. Through Q4 2018 at least, if you subtract $TSLA global Model 3 deliveries from Inside EVs’ US estimates, the remainder is an estimate for Canadian deliveries. See this table.
15/ If you are following along carefully, you will realize that if NMVTIS covers 94% of US deliveries, and Tesla only releases global numbers, a reasonable approximation for what should eventually end up in NMVTIS is [0.94 x @InsideEVs estimate of US deliveries]. $TSLA
16/ Now is a good time to summarize things before proceeding. The picture below details the VIN journey from birth at NHTSA to registration in NMVTIS. Hopefully this is clear. $TSLA
17/ There is one state DMV that is unique: New York. New York is unique in that it publishes to the public detailed registration data – down to the VINs – for every vehicle registered in the state on a monthly basis. A gold mine for this analysis. $TSLA
18/ But there is an important limitation to the NY DMV data. They can only publish what they have received. This is a critical nuance that explains much of the confusion around using VINs as a proxy for estimating deliveries. We’ll tackle this nuance now. $TSLA
19/ How many Model 3s did $TSLA register in the state of NY during the month of October? It depends when you ask the NY DMV. On November 2, the NY DMV reported 147. On December 2, they revised up to 350. Most recently on January 3, it was 393. $TSLA
20/ So what’s happening here? I believe $TLSA is delaying their vehicle reporting to the NY DMV by several weeks, and once the NY DMV receives the data, it back dates the registration to the original sale dates. So the estimate of ‘Model 3s sold during October’ grows over time.
21/ I believe this issue is occurring across the country, and it might explain why IHS Markit has only recently officially released their US estimate of Model 3 registrations through October to @danahull. It is simply too early to estimate November and December. $TSLA
22/ Here is the link to Dana's article:


As an aside, the analysis into how $TSLA delays registering their sales with state DMVs makes the timeliness and precision of the @InsideEVs estimates of Model 3 deliveries very suspect.
23/ The @danahull article is a gold mine! The most important nugget is we now have the official IHS Markit estimate of Model3s registered in the US year-to-date through October: 80,337. $TSLA
24/ How does this compare to $TSLA’s claimed deliveries? Let’s go back to the @InsideEVs data, which I’ve already shown matches very well with what Tesla reports. Here is their monthly estimate for 2018. Notice anything strange?
25/ There are roughly 15,500 missing Model 3s! We are far enough past October that IHS feels the data is final. It has YTD registrations in the US at ~80,337. What’s going on here? Can somebody #ExplainTheVINs? $TSLA
26/ Dana’s article had more nuggets we can use for cross-checking. I compared the October YTD number as reported by the NY DMV to the nationwide number reported by IHS Markit. They match perfectly! $TSLA
27/ Because God is glorious, $TSLAQ has daily running totals of NMVTIS registration data for the Model 3. I published this chart a couple weeks ago. It should make more sense now. $TSLA
28/ In the chart above, the red line represents 94% of claimed Model 3 deliveries in the US since launch (i.e. 2017-2018). With sales almost certainly collapsing in January, we’ll know very soon what is going on here. $TSLA
29/ And what has happened since $TSLAQ brought all this attention to VINs? Surprise! $TSLA is suddenly registering a ton of Model 3s.
30/ Will the blue line reach the red line? When? I personally can’t wait to find out!

$TLSA #ExplainTheVINs

TC out
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