13th VDA QMC’s quality summit in the automotive industry
“We must continue to produce top quality as digitization progresses. This is the only way to maintain our excellent competitive position. Even if the German automotive industry is still going through a difficult period, when it comes to quality the German manufacturers remain right at the forefront of developments. That is also confirmed by the latest TÜV report published at the beginning of November. It has Audi, Mercedes, Opel and Porsche in the top places among the two to three-year-old vehicles with the lowest defect rates. The daily work of quality managers in the German automotive companies ensures that this year again German products appear way up in the renowned quality and reliability rankings,” stressed Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), at the 13th VDA QMC quality summit meeting of the automotive industry in Berlin.
The quality summit is Germany’s most important specialist conference for automotive quality management, and takes place every year. The two-day event (November 22 to 23, 2016) with around 200 international participants was entitled “Quality under digitization – opportunities and risks” and opened by VDA President Wissmann. He was followed by the speakers Michael Odenwald, State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, Knudt Flor, Head of Group Corporate Quality at BMW and chairman of the VDA’s Quality Management Commission (QMA), and Prof. Stefan Bratzel, Director of the Center of Automotive Management (CAM). In addition, many other high-ranking experts from the sector reported on quality management topics in the industry.
Wissmann emphasized, “When it comes to the key topics for the future of our industry – electric mobility and automated and connected driving – we absolutely have to break new ground to push quality forward and establish processes that satisfy the demands of these technologies.” The German automotive industry was well positioned as a lead provider of electric mobility he said, adding: “At this time the passenger car manufacturers have around 30 electric models on the market. According to McKinsey’s Electric Vehicle Index, Germany is therefore one of the most important countries manufacturing electric vehicles, along with China and Japan.” This year the German group brands have expanded their share of the Western European electric vehicle market to 47 percent, while in the US their share is one fifth of all e-cars sold, Wissmann said.
“If electric mobility is going to be a visible success on Germany’s roads, we need the right regulatory conditions,” Wissmann underscored. The fleet of electric vehicles in Germany was still too small at 37,830 units, he added. It was necessary to rapidly establish a charging infrastructure, and to this end the German Government was planning to invest 300 million euros over the next few years. “We also expect that by 2025 battery costs will have halved for the same output,” Wissmann said.
Concerning the second megatrend, automated and connected driving, Wissmann stressed: “This is associated with many expectations of future mobility. Yet digitization is not an end in itself. Our objective must be to make road traffic even more efficient and even safer.” The VDA president was convinced that connected and automated driving would greatly improve road safety: “Ninety percent of all accidents are caused by human error. Mostly this occurs because the driver has either too much or too little to do and is not paying attention or is distracted, or makes the wrong judgment in complex traffic situations such as at intersections.” A large proportion of these accidents could be avoided using connected and automated driving.
There was also a considerable contribution to environmental and climate protection, Wissmann emphasized, and drew attention to a Prognos study according to which every year drivers in Germany spend around 560 million hours looking for somewhere to park: “Better use of the available data on parking spaces and exploiting additional sources of data can result in savings of up to 30 percent – with corresponding reductions in emissions of CO2 and nitrogen oxides in towns and cities,” Wissmann said.
To conclude, the VDA president stressed, “Established quality management methods must be continually harmonized and optimized through our joint work in the QMA if manufacturers and suppliers are to build on their successes, particularly in the automotive industry’s key future topics.” He went on to say that in 2016 this had come about through the worldwide QM system standard IATF 16949 and the international process audit standard VDA 6.3. Experts from the business also reported on these developments at the quality summit.