There is a lot of grey area in how things are designated but:
Pilot cars are generally the first cars produced on the production line with off-tool, off-process parts. They are usually intended to be sold, and are therefore given VINs.
Pre-production cars are frequently assembled off-line with prototype or hand-built parts, are not generally intended to be sold, and are generally not given VINs.
John - Formerly known as JRinKY
VIN 00252 2.4 Manual Midnight Blue
2008 Redline Manual Carbon Flash