Automotive Industry

Traceability-Related Laws and Regulations Vital to the Automotive Industry

This page introduces the laws and regulations related to traceability that need to be known by those in the automotive industry, not only by manufacturers of finished automobiles and motorcycles, but also assembly manufacturers of engines and transmissions, suppliers of pistons, crankshafts and other parts, and suppliers of navigation systems, tires and other peripheral equipment.

Quality Management Standard for Suppliers: ISO/TS 16949

Manufacturers that product and sell automobiles or motorcycles receive supplies of various parts from their subcontractors (suppliers). Such manufacturers are naturally responsible for supervising the quality management systems of these suppliers, and need to establish unified evaluation criteria when they have dozens of suppliers.

ISO/TS 16949 is an international standard to meet this need. It specifies a quality management standard that the manufacturers of finished automobiles and motorcycles impose on their suppliers in order to satisfy quality, delivery time and other requirements. It is a technical specification of global standards with reference to Europe and U.S. standards, based on ISO 9001.

Functional Safety Standard for Electrical/Electronic Systems: ISO 26262

Modern automobiles are equipped with many electrical/electronic devices including an electronic control unit (ECU), sensors and actuators (motors). ISO 26262 is an international standard concerning the functional safety of automobiles derived from IEC 61508, which is a standard that is applicable to industrial equipment and products in general.

Functional Safety Standard for Electrical/Electronic Systems: ISO 26262

ISO 26262 is characterized by the fact that it covers the entire life cycle, from the definition of requirements through development, production, maintenance, operation, and disposal. Consequently, it requires functional safety management in the entire supply chain, so it has a close relationship with traceability. As hybrid and electric vehicles become more common in the future, the electrical/electronic devices mounted on each vehicles are expected to increase even more. Automotive manufacturers will look for suppliers or manufacturing subcontractors of such parts. ISO 26262 certification will sure be one of the selection criteria.

Obligation for recall: Title 49 USC Chapter 301 - MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY and TREAD Act (U.S.)

Title 49 USC Chapter 301 - MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY (U.S.) is a recall system that started in September, 1966 in the United States. When an automobile or its equipment is judged to have any safety defect or when a new vehicle does not satisfy safety standards, the recall system in the U.S. requests manufacturers to notify administrative authorities and users of such a defect or non-conformance. It also imposes obligations to recall or repair the relevant vehicle model(s) free of charge.

Recall-related Laws and Regulations Worldwide

In addition to the above, there are laws and regulations related to recalls and other obligations around the world, such as 2001/95/EC General Product Safety Directive (GRSD)* of the EC, Gerate und Produktsicherheitsgesetz (Equipment and Product Safety Act)* in Germany, the Code of Practice on Vehicle Safety Defects in the United Kingdom, and the Trade Practice Act* in Australia.
* Covers products in general, not only automobiles

U.S. Title 49 USC Chapter 301 - MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY
Japan Road Transport Vehicle Act
EU 2001/95/EC General Product Safety Directive
Germany Gerate und Produktsicherheitsgesetz (Equipment and Product Safety Act)
U.K. Code of Practice on Vehicle Safety Defects
Australia Trade Practice Act

Recall system for higher safety standards: TREAD Act (U.S.)

Title 49 USC Chapter 301 - MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY in the U.S. requires issuing a recall for any cases that do not satisfy the safety standards even when the cause is unknown. In addition to such stringent requirements imposed on the manufacturers of finished vehicles and parts, the U.S. has further reinforced the system after the problem of tire tread separation on Ford Explorers equipped with tires manufactured by Bridgestone/Firestone in 2000 caused multiple fatalities and injuries.

This is the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability, and Documentation Act, commonly known as TREAD Act, which went into force in 2000. Since the TREAD Act made it obligatory to report information concerning safety without fail in greater detail, the importance of traceability suddenly gained a lot of attention.

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