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IATF 16949 Certification

Certification according to IATF 16949

Established quality management in the automotive industry with IATF 16949 certification

Success in the international automotive industry relies on high standards, technical innovation and premium quality throughout the entire supply chain. A management system certified according to IATF 16949 can help you access customers in new markets. Regarded as the world's leading quality standard in the automotive industry, IATF 16949 combines a number of car manufacturer and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) requirements into one certification.

Standards prevailing prior to 1999 such as QS 9000 or VDA 6.x were largely replaced by ISO/TS 16949 and subsequently by IATF 16949. Our certification according to IATF 16949 supports you in continuously improving your system and process quality and focusing on customer-specific requirements.

Our experts will be happy to answer your questions and provide you with further information on IATF 16949 certification.

The IATF Audit is changing.

CARA, the Common Audit Report Application, was developed and is provided by IATF/ VDA. All IATF-recognized certification bodies and their sponsored auditors are required to use only the CARA for audit reporting starting January 2021.

Below we answer the most important questions about that change and what it means for the audits. More information can be found on the official website.

Basic information about CARA

Below we answer the most important questions about that change and what it means for the audits. More information can be found on the official website.

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What is CARA?

  • CARA stands for Common Audit Report Application
  • It is developed and provided by IATF/ VDA.
  • Starting January 2021, all IATF-recognized certification bodies and their sponsored auditors are required to use only the CARA application for audit reporting. The general structure and content of the application is however still based on the previously provided Excel-based templates.
  • Supporting documents are available in the CARA user manual and dedicated CARA wiki. The wiki will be updated on a regularly basis including a FAQ area and How-to articles.

What are the major features?

  • The main purpose of CARA is to create, edit, save, and share common audit documents in a standardized manner.
  • It is a browser-based solution – no installation of additional software is required on personal computers other than the requirements published by IATF (see CARA wiki).
  • After the initial access to CARA, no continuous online connection is required.
  • Audit data handling with standardized state-of-the-art technology
  • User interface supports most common languages.
  • Easy and user-friendly data entry
  • Offers nonconformity management application as collaboration between auditors and clients
  • The nonconformity management application allows the client to respond to open nonconformities within CARA.
  • Also, no additional installation is needed for using the nonconformity management just like with CARA.

How does CARA make the job of a Quality Manager easier?

  • A common audit report reduces variation and complexity and therefore lowers efforts and costs in the IATF 16949 certification scheme.
  • It is easier for stakeholders (incl. OEMs, suppliers, certification bodies and auditors) to understand and analyze the information an audit report contains.
  • OEMs who sample audit reports are able to navigate to the areas they are interested in more easily and will find a common information structure.
  • Suppliers being certified by several certification bodies can exchange information more easily (e.g. nonconformity management) and will be able to provide other involved Certification Bodies more quickly with the needed information.
  • CARA will increase the efficiency of the IATF audit process.
  • Simplification in terms of IATF audit documentation

How does TÜV Rheinland manage the implementation and supports the customer?

  • In general, technical customer support is globally covered by IATF/VDA. But of course, as your reliable partner, we will support you with regard to questions with CARA, too.
  • The new nonconformity management will standardize the communication with the customer and hence supports the overall clarification process.

What are the changes to the present audit process?

  • The audit process itself is not affected.
  • CARA will introduce a technical base and hence process to collaborate on nonconformities between the customer and the auditor – which works in the following way (CARA for customers):
    • The auditor captures all relevant data in CARA, exports that data set and provides it via email to the customer
    • The customer then downloads these data, imports them into their own CARA application, updates the information and exports it to provide it back to the auditor via email
    • The collaboration in such a way will continue until the auditor accepts the corrective measures taken
  • All information within the CARA reports is stored in a predefined data structure.
  • The application has a built-in import and export function utilizing this standardized file format (XML/JSON).
  • To guarantee a seamless data exchange to any external interface, the information that is being imported/exported must be in the same format.
  • The description of the data structure can be downloaded here: CARA Data Description (XML/JSON)

What are the technical requirements?

  • CARA is a browser-based application.
  • The application is not linked to any server / central database nor does it require an internet connection to work.
  • All audit data created and imported are solely stored in the browser’s internal database of the individual user.
  • The user shall be careful to not empty the browser cache as any exported and unsaved data will be lost.
  • Data security is generally ensured by IATF/VDA.

Information for NC CARA Tool – Customer related questions

The NC CARA Tool is an application created by IATF for customers to work on their nonconformites. The following FAQs will deal with the use of the NC CARA Tool for customers.

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How and where do I get a user account and login data for the NC CARA Tool

A user account or login data are not needed.
First you need to save the JSON-file, which you have received from your auditor (and which contains your nonconformities), on your computer.
Copy the following link into your browser and open the NC CARA Tool:!/ncAppStart
Then upload the previously saved JSON-file into the NC CARA tool by clicking on the icon

How do I get access to my audit report ?

  • There is no actual link between the audit report and the NC CARA Tool.
  • The audit report will be sent to you by your auditor as a PDF-file, like in the past.
  • The nonconformity (NC) report will be sent to you by your auditor, as a JSON-file. This JSON-file needs to be uploaded into the NC CARA Tool.
  • You do not need to do anything with the audit report.

Who can read my audit report or my NC report ?

  • Your audit report and your NC report will be only available for you and your auditor – as in the past.
  • IATF cannot access your data.
  • Your data is only stored on your local device.

Can I change the audit report?

The audit report will be a PDF-file and cannot be changed by the client.

What changes to my internal process do I have to expect?

  • Basically you will only change the data format in which you do your NC Management. You will receive your NC-Report as a JSON-file by email from your auditor.
  • You then need to import this JSON-file into your NC CARA Tool.
  • In the NC CARA Tool, you need to upload the JSON-file and then fill in the NC report as usual.
  • PDF-files or JPG-files may be added as supporting documents for evidence. This may either be done directly in the NC-report, or you may send those files separately by email to your auditor as in the past.
  • You then need to save the JSON-file and send it back to the auditor by email including any further evidences if needed.

How is confidentiality ensured?

  • There are no data saved anywhere in the web. You only use the NC CARA Tool to fill in data – everything is saved locally on your computer.
  • You only exchange data via email with your auditor – as before.
  • As from April 2021, IATF plans to use encryption for JSON-files.

How about compliance issues?

  • This NC CARA Tool is a mandatory requirement from IATF globally – so we must use it.
  • Nobody will be able to see or use your JSON-file as you exchange it only between yourself and your auditor.
  • Your report and/or non-conformities are not visible in the internet for other people unless YOU decide to share them with other people.
  • The report will be the same as it is now – a PDF-file.

Does the content of the report change with CARA?

IATF wanted to distinguish themselves from the „commodity“ standards, therefore the report is more detailed than before.

Where do I send my corrective actions?

  • Basically everything remains the same as before.
  • Once you have uploaded the JSON-file into the NC CARA Tool and updated all the information needed and also attached all the evidences, then you just need to send it back to your auditor by email.
  • You may only attach PDF- oder JPEG-files in the NC CARA Tool to your NC-report. If you wish to submit other files too, please send them by email to your auditor.

What is the timeline for CARA?

As of 1st January 2021 CARA is mandatory to use.

For further information regarding the NC CARA Tool, please watch the following video. You will get detailed information about downloading, use and the advantages of the tool.

Your benefits of an IATF 16949 certification

Focus on prevention and planning with IATF 16949 certification

With an IATF 16949 certification, you can establish an internationally recognized set of rules and avoid the cost of multiple certifications. The consistent tracking of errors helps you enhance security to increase trust among your customers and business partners. Certification enables you to optimize product and process quality, and credibly document worldwide performance to increase your international market opportunities. IATF 16949 certification lays the foundation for combination certification with other standards such as ISO 14001.

Focused on prevention and planning, IATF 16949 certification reduces unexpected costs and frees up resources to be used for other quality tasks.

ISO/TS 16949 became IATF 16949

The first edition of IATF 16949 replaced and repealed ISO/TS 16949:2009. The new IATF 16949:2016 standard was published in October 2016. Alignment to the latest version of the quality management standard included ISO 9001:2015 requirements.

The IATF 16949 standard aims to effectively improve system and process quality of companies in the automotive industry. The continuous improvement process is intended to increase customer satisfaction, identify and eliminate errors and risks in the production process and the supply chain, and check the effectiveness of implemented corrective and preventive measures.

The International Automotive Task Force (IATF) also published the "Certification Requirements" in its November 2016 5th edition. Read more about this in our "Revision of the certification rules" information sheet.

Before coming into force, adjustments applying to extended production sites and other issues were made to the current certification. Since April 2016 it is again possible to certify multiple related sites by means of one certification. You can read more about this in our FAQs.

pdf Current certification rules for IATF 16949 283 KB Download
pdf Questions and Answers on the IATF 16949 357 KB Download

IATF 16949 certification process

We are your experienced partner for IATF 16949 certification. Our experts carefully analyze and evaluate your processes and systems in five steps:

  1. Pre-audit (optional)
    Optimal preparation for subsequent certification audit
  2. Certification audit
    Readiness assessment (Stage 1) by the audit team and demonstration of practical application (Stage 2)
  3. Certificate issuance
    Entry in our online Certipedia certificate database
  4. Annual surveillance audits
  5. Re-certification after three years

IATF 16949 certification in 5 steps

From pre-audit to re-certification - IATF 16949 certification at a glance

Your neutral partner for increased international market opportunities

Our experienced and independent experts accompany you through the certification process and help you set up an efficient quality management system. Benefit from our know-how and internationally recognized certificates and take advantage of a combined certification. Contact us for further information!

More information to download

pdf Current certification rules for IATF 16949 283 KB Download
pdf Useful information on IATF 16949 357 KB Download
pdf Questions and Answers on the IATF 16949 287 KB Download

IATF rules during the COVID-19 pandemic

IATF has arranged to respond to the changed conditions as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
In light of the pandemic, a different set of rules than normal currently apply to companies with an IATF 16949 certificate to ensure that they can maintain their certification irrespective of any potential COVID-19 restrictions. IATF 16949 standard is increasingly prescribing extended deadlines and risk assessments based on monitoring.

Remote auditing and certification

Remote auditing and certification

Remote audits offer a flexible alternative to traditional audit methods. Our remote audits offer the same level of quality you’ve come to expect from TUV Rheinland. We are committed to being a strong and reliable partner. Learn more!


Get in contact with us!

Get in contact with us!

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