Manufacturer's Statement of Origin (MSO)
If you purchased a new vehicle from a new-car dealer, you will have an
MSO instead of a title.
Just heard a little story on the Dave Champion Show
(February 2nd, 2011 show) where Dave discusses the MCO (Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin) as requested by a listener.
I highly recommend hearing Dave's explanation by listening to the broadcast, but for those crunched for time, here's the quick and dirty regarding the MCO.
There are no laws concerning the interim possession and ownership of new vehicles between manufacturer and first sale. To provide evidence of legitimate possession and/or ownership during transport and for dealerships prior to sale, the industry itself developed the MCO for just this purpose. For instance, a truck driver hauling several new cars from Michigan to a dealership in Dallas would not have adequate titles for the vehicles he is hauling... such documentation does not yet exist. He carries with him a big fat envelope which has the MCO's for the various cars he is hauling. This serves as proof that he has these vehicles in his possession legitimately. Upon delivery to the dealership, he surrenders the envelope to them... now they have proof of their legitimate possession of the vehicles. If the state motor vehicle bureau conducts an audit, they have sufficient proof of legitimate possession.
Upon selling you a new vehicle, the dealership sends a COPY of the MCO for the creation of a Certificate of Title that follows that vehicle for its entire life. The MCO remains at the dealership for whatever period of time the law requires. These documents provide evidence in the event of a conflict regarding the proper chain of ownership/possession to its first sale... purportedly to make sure the dealer's ass is covered if a question of its scruples comes up (regarding stolen cars and whatnot).
So, if you want know the truth, just visit the dealership where you bought your new car and hopefully they will be forthcoming and show you the actual MCO for your car that is in their vault/storage (if it's kept on-site).
The MCO is not destroyed by the state DMV, nor is it a replacement for a Certificate of Title issued by the state where in the first sale occurred. It has a very specific purpose that has nothing to do with the eventual owner of the vehicle.