Jargon Busting

The most common meanings of terms often used in the motor industry:


Completely Built Up. Same as Fully Built Up.

Chassis Cowl

A vehicle (usually a bus) which has no bodywork fitted other than the front cowling and widscreen.


A vehicle (usually a truck) which has a complete driver’s cab, but to which a cargo or other body has not yet been fitted.


Completely Knocked Down.  A package of most or all of the individual parts of a vehicle, as separate pieces.  In all cases these parts are brand new, and in almost all cases they have never been assembled together before.  However, they are usually referred to as if they were a whole vehicle which has been “broken down” into its constituent parts.

Commercial Vehicle

A licensing classification applied to either passenger or goods vehicles which distinguishes vehicles used primarily for commercial transport from those used primarily by their owners for personal transport (Private Vehicle).


Synonomous with a  “part”,  but used distinctively in contexts other than “spare” or “replacement” parts, and/or to define an element of a vehicle which is made of several parts (eg a full axle assembly, which includes not only the axle tube but also the differential, half-shafts and even wheel hubs).

Component manufacturer

A company which specialises in the manufacture (from raw materials, and/or processed materials, and/or finished elements) of particular vehicle components.

Date Labels

It is an international legal requirement for some components to be date-stamped or labelled.  This is most common on safety belts, which have a tag near their lower mounting. The date shown on this tag, or one year later, is the probable year of manufacture of the vehicle.

Degree of Breakdown

The maximim degree of breakdown would be the separation of every part of a vehicle to its smallest single elements (ie every last tiny screw or wire or clip – effectively a collection of processed raw materials).There are various lesser degrees of breakdown in which some components made of multiple parts are already assembled (eg a complete alternator, rather than separate housing, pulley, bearings, electrical winding, bushes etc).  Commmonly in CKD packages, engines, transmissions and several other parts are already complete.  The lowest degree of breakdown which still qualifies as CKD is normally defined by national laws in each market  (See also SKD).

Drive Train

The complete system connecting the engine to the driven wheels, including the engine, clutch, gearbox, differential(s), propshaft/half-shafts,  and wheel hubs.

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