Model year vs. manufacture year of a car

Car manufacture date vs model year: what is the difference?

5 May 2021

car manufacture date vs model year. Among new models of a given car brand in the second half of 2021, you may come across vehicles whose model year is 2022. If you do, know this: it won’t be a typo.  Model year can start some before the manufacture year.


Car manufacture date vs model year – discover the differences

A car manufactured in the 2nd half of 2020 can be of model year 2021. For vehicles manufactured up to June 2021, the model year will be 2021, but those manufactured from July on can be advertised as model year 2022.


Instructions on vehicle registration

According to the “Instructions on vehicle registration” (article 11, appendix 1), the “YEAR OF MANUFACTURE” is the calendar year when (as per the manufacturer) the vehicle was manufactured.



The model year dates are used for marketing purposes

This doesn’t mean that there are any differences between two models with two consecutive manufacture dates. It’s merely a result of the way vehicles enter the market, as well as their lifecycle. A new generation of a given car appears every 4 to 5 years, and in the middle of this period the model undergoes some minor changes.


Fun fact

There are exceptions to this rule, of course. For example, the 1st generation Volvo XC90 was manufactured from 2002 up until 2014. On the other hand, the current generation of Mazda 6 has been manufactured since 2012 and throughout these 9 years it’s undergone changes three times. In the latter case, the differences between model years 2103 and 14 may be negligible but there are major differences (such as a quieter interior) between the models of 2015 and 2020.



USA, Europe and Poland: what dates are preferred?

Model year is very popular in the North America; in fact they’re so widely recognized that you may find offers where the model year is provided instead of the manufacture year. In the majority of EU countries, the most important date is the date of first registration. At the same time, in Poland, attention is paid to the manufacture year. There may be at least a few months’ difference between the two. This is often the case when a vehicle is manufactured in Asia and the shipping and registration procedures take months; only after this time the vehicle can actually be sold in the EU. In some cases, dealers may also register the vehicles themselves (especially at year end, in order to meet the sales targets) and only then do they actually sell them.


The VIN number never lies

You will always find the actual manufacture date in the VIN number. In fact, it may even differ from the date provided in the registration book of the vehicle, if it was previously registered in another country. The quality of CEPiK (Central Vehicles and Drivers Register) data has significantly improved in the last years but some vehicles are still described with insufficient precision. The number of documents based on which one can register a car in Poland is only making such improvements more difficult. This is why you should always check the vehicle history to make sure you have solid data at hand. You can check vehicle manufacture date at autoDNA.


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Car manufacture date vs. model year. Among new models of a given car brand in the second half of 2021, you may come across vehicles whose model year is 2022.
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