The automotive industry uses international standards to ensure quality, safety and reliability in vehicle parts and assemblies. These standards are reviewed and updated periodically to align with global manufacturing quality standards, such as those maintained by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

In 2015, ISO released a new overarching quality standard ISO 9001:2015 to expand the prior emphasis on accurate documentation to include more leadership involvement and risk assessment in the quality process. A new automotive standard IATF 16949:2016 has been released by the International Automotive Task Force to support the objectives of ISO 9001:2015 and replace the previously used automotive standard ISO/TS 16949:2009.

The IATF comprises automotive industry organizations from Italy, United States, United Kingdom, Germany and France. The IATF published IATF 16949:2016 in October 2016 and plans to issue rules for achieving IATF recognition in November 2016.

ISO 9001:2015

The ISO 9001:2015 standard focuses quality efforts on achieving value. Key changes in ISO 9001:2015 include:

  • Greater emphasis on risk-based thinking
  • More involvement from top management, particularly to determine strategic direction
  • Integration of quality management systems (QMS) into business processes
  • Added requirements to retain knowledge and control all externally provided processes, products and services

IATF 16949:2016

IATF 16949:2016 is being implemented in conjunction with ISO 9001:2015. The new automotive industry standard emphasizes continuous improvement, defect prevention and reduction in variation and waste.

IATF 16949:2016 defines quality management system requirements for automotive production, service and/or accessory parts organizations, including:

  • Requirements for safety-related parts and products with embedded software

    Includes enhanced product traceability requirements

  • Management of product safety issues during product realization

  • Development of contingency plans

  • Definition of corporate responsibility policies

    According to the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG), the new standard for the first time requires certified organizations to implement basic corporate responsibility policies such as an anti-bribery policy, an employee code of conduct, and an ethics escalation (whistle-blower) policy.

  • Consideration of the needs of all interested parties

    According to IATF, the new standard has a strong customer orientation based on feedback from certification bodies, auditors, suppliers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

  • Ensuring customer specific requirements are incorporated into QMS

    IATF 16949:2016 incorporates common automotive customer-specific requirements and automotive sector-specific requirements.

  • Additional requirements related to supplier selection and monitoring

    Includes understanding risks in the supply chain process (e.g. single source supply) and clarification of sub-tier supplier management and development requirements

  • Understanding risks before approving rework

  • Strengthening requirements for maintenance

    Incorporates the concepts of Total Productive Maintenance (TPM), a maintenance philosophy designed to maximize participation of the workforce to keep equipment in top working order.

  • Promoting the use of internal audit best practice tools

    Such as the German automotive process based audit standard VDA6.3 and the supplier self assessment and continuous improvement tool Global Materials Management Operational Guidelines/Logistical Evaluation (MMOG/LE)

  • More emphasis on effective error proofing

    Includes verification of error proofing devices

  • New requirements related to warranty management

    Includes the use of automotive industry guidance and addressing “No Trouble Found” (NTF) situations where a consumer concern cannot be replicated or a part passes dimensional and normal functional evaluation tests despite being returned under warranty.


To achieve industry quality recognition, organizations must be certified and audited regularly. After October 1, 2017, automotive organizations will only be audited and certified to the new IATF 16949:2016 standard.

The transition from ISO/TS 16949:2009 to IATF 16949:2016 can be done at a recertification audit or an annual surveillance audit; however the transition audit will be a full systems audit equivalent to recertification. If the transition to the new standard is not completed, the decertification process will begin or an organization will be required to start the process over with an initial certification audit.

Once completed, IATF 16949:2016 certification is good for up to three years.

For more information about auditing and certification requirements, please reference the transition strategy guide published and updated by IATF


More than ever, quality management systems and software are required to ensure full compliance with international quality standards. To ensure ongoing quality certification by ISO and IATF, automotive industry companies and suppliers need a complete understanding of ISO 9001:2015 and IATF 16949:2016 and robust information technology tools to help integrate and automate these quality standards in the product development process. QAD CEBOS’ IATF software suite provides the solution that ensures your organization has the most efficient solution enabling compliance, automation and data integration.

Organizations interested in more details about IATF certification can get additional documentation and training through:

International Automotive Task Force
Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG)
The British Standards Institution