Vehicle Industry Registration Procedures Manual

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Section 8 of 38

Chapter 7: Miscellaneous Originals

7.065 Manufacturer’s Certificate/Statement of Origin (VC §4150[d])

Unless a new vehicle is sold by a licensed California dealer and an Application for Registration of New Vehicle (REG 397) is submitted, all applications for original registration and/or title of new vehicles and motorcycles must include a Manufacturer’s Certificate/Statement of Origin (MCO/MSO).

This does not include a direct import vehicle or a specially constructed (SPCNS) vehicle manufactured to resemble a recognized make.

Refer to Chapter 12, Nonresident Vehicles, for direct imports and section 7.190 of this chapter for SPCNS.

The MCO/MSO may be prepared at a factory, an assembly plant, or a business authorized by the manufacturer. All MCO/MSOs, except those for off-road equipment, should be produced in an identical format, and must include:

  • The manufacturer’s name and address.
  • The make, identification number, body type, year model, and vehicle series or model name.
  • The date and to whom the ownership was transferred from the manufacturer and the signature of the manufacturer’s agent (a signature stamp is acceptable).

Reassignments made in the space provided on the MCO/MS do no need to be notarized for California, even if a notarization space is provided.

Although variations exist, an MCO/MSO normally is: 7″ x 11″ in size, on paper stock sixty (60) pound offset or equivalent durability, and printed with security features that include:

  • Sensitized security paper without added optical brighteners that will not fluoresce under ultraviolet light.
  • Engraved border and prismatic-rainbow printing with Copy Void Pantograph (the word “void” appears when the document is copied).
  • Two complex colors (colors developed by using a mixture of two or more primary colors and black) and two security threads, with or without watermark, and/or intaglio print, with or without latent image, and/or security laminate.

Duplicate MCO/MSO

A duplicate copy of an MSO issued by the manufacturer is acceptable as proof of ownership.

  • It must clearly state “Duplicate” on the face of the document, contain the same security features as the original MSO, and contain the identical descriptive information, except for the issuance date, as the original MSO.
  • Any discrepancy invalidates the duplicate. A photocopy of the original is not acceptable.

MSO Continuations

  • Any continuation to an MSO must clearly state “Continuation” on the face of the document and contain the same security features as the original.
  • A “continuation” MSO must be used in conjunction with the original MSO.

New Vehicle with MSO Registration Requirements

When a new vehicle is sold by other than a California dealer and the vehicle has never been registered or titled in any state or country, the following are required:

  • A properly completed Application for Title or Registration (REG 343).
  • The Manufacturer’s Certificate/Statement of Origin (MCO/MSO) properly endorsed to the purchaser. Bills of Sale are acceptable in lieu of endorsement(s) on the MCO/MSO.
  • A vehicle verification, unless the vehicle qualifies for a verification exception (see below).
  • Weight Certificate for a commercial vehicles less than 10, 001 pounds unladen.
    • If the vehicle weights 10,000 pounds or more, or is a trailer in the PTI program, the estimated unladen weight is required and may be shown on a Statement of Facts (REG 256).
  • Declaration of Gross Vehicle Weight/Combined Gross Vehicle Weight (REG 4008).
    • Completed and signed by the owner for a commercial vehicle weighing 6001 pounds or more unladen (not required for pickups).
  • A smog certification, if appropriate.
  • The fees due from date of first use in California.

Vehicle Verification Exceptions

A vehicle verification is not required for:

  • A new trailer purchased in another state and eligible for registration under the Permanent Trailer Identification (PTI) Program provided:
    • The trailer has never been registered.
    • The trailer has not been modified, altered, or assembled from a kit.
    • A secured Manufacturer’s Certificate/Statement of Origin (MCO/MSO) is submitted for the complete trailer.
  • A new commercial vehicle purchased in another state as a complete vehicle or as an incomplete vehicle to which a new body was added to make a complete vehicle provided:
    • The vehicle has never been registered or issued International Registration Plan (IRP) registration in California or was issued IRP registration with the last 60 days only.
    • The vehicle has not been modified, altered, or assembled from a kit Manufacturer’s Certificated/Statement of Origin (MCO/MSO).
    • The vehicle has an unladen weight of 6,001 pounds or more.
    • The vehicle meets California emission standards.
    • A secured Manufacturer’s Certificate/Statement of Origin (MCO/MSO) is submitted for the (complete) a vehicle, or
    • A secured MCO/MSO is submitted for both the cab/chassis and the body and the Statement of Facts (REG 256) from the owner which certifies the vehicle “was not constructed with any used components” and states the body type model (BTM) for a vehicle that does not meet California emission standards.