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VDA 6.3: In-depth Guide to the German Automotive Standard

VDA 6.3: In-depth Guide to the German Automotive Standard
June 13, 2024
Smart Audits
Lean Manufacturing

VDA 6.3 stands as a pivotal quality management system standard required by German automotive companies, extending its applicability to various sectors such as manufacturing and FMCG, streamlining the continual improvement process for unparalleled product and service quality 1. This standard not only aligns with ISO 9001 principles but also dives deeper into process audits and supplier capability assessments, heralding a new era of excellence in the automotive industry 1.

Embracing VDA 6.3 ensures a comprehensive understanding and implementation of quality standards that foster superior VDA product and service quality, making it an essential tool for businesses aiming at perfection in VDA production audits and internal audits 1. From VDA 6.3 process audit to VDA 6.3 audit trails, the pathway to certification introduces organizations to a systematic approach towards achieving and surpassing VDA 6.3 standards, ensuring quality management remains at the forefront of operational excellence 1.

Understanding VDA 6.3 and Its Place in the Automotive Quality Management Landscape

VDA 6.3 positions itself as a cornerstone in the automotive quality management landscape by emphasizing process-based audits, which are essential for evaluating and enhancing controls within manufacturing organizations, especially those involved in new product introductions and ongoing manufacturing processes 1. This standard is particularly tailored to address the intricate and unique requirements of the automotive industry originating in Germany, making it a prerequisite for Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers to German automobile manufacturers 2.

  • Scope and Application: VDA 6.3 is applicable not only to automotive manufacturers but also extends its relevance to suppliers, thereby encompassing a wide range of entities within the automotive supply chain. Its applicability is not confined to the automotive sector alone; any manufacturing organization aiming to drive process improvement can utilize this standard.

  • Key Components:

    • Process Audits: Focuses on production parts and services, ensuring that each process step meets the stringent quality requirements set forth by the standard 3.

    • Correlation with International Standards: Aligns with ISO 19011 and IATF 16949:2016 Part 1, employing methodologies like potential analysis and failure mode effects analysis (FMEA) to bolster its process audit framework 4.

    • Certification Requirements: Emphasizes the necessity for Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers to achieve certification, highlighting its critical role in becoming a supplier to German automotive companies.

VDA 6.3's integration with ISO 9001:2015 aims at assisting automotive companies in achieving growth, innovation, and compliance objectives, thereby underscoring its pivotal role in the continual improvement process within the quality management landscape.


Key Components of the VDA 6.3 Process Audit

In delving into the key components of the VDA 6.3 Process Audit, it's essential to understand the structured approach it employs to ensure thorough quality management within the automotive sector:

  1. Audit Scope and Phases: At the core of VDA 6.3 is its comprehensive audit scope, covering areas from potential analysis and project management to customer satisfaction and service. The audit process is divided into distinct phases, including planning, development, supplier management, and production, ensuring a holistic evaluation of the organization's quality management systems 1.

  2. Risk Analysis and Quality Matrix: A pivotal element in preparing for a VDA 6.3 audit is risk analysis, which aids in identifying potential pitfalls in the process. The outcome of the audit is quantified through a quality matrix, assigning one of three values - A (Quality-capable), B (Conditionally quality-capable), or C (Not quality-capable), based on the audit results. This grading system plays a crucial role in determining the organization's quality capability 4.

  3. Certification Essentials: Achieving VDA 6.3 certification necessitates meeting stringent criteria, including product suitability assessment, internal audits, and effective supply chain risk management. Documentation, quality assurance measures, and staff qualifications are among the critical aspects evaluated during the certification process. Notably, VDA 6.3 mandates the certification for primary Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers to German automotive manufacturers, underscoring its significance in the industry 4.

The Path to VDA 6.3 Certification

Starting on the path to VDA 6.3 certification involves a diligent process, underscoring the importance of thorough preparation and understanding of the audit's scope. Here's a structured approach to navigate this journey:

  1. Pre-Audit Preparation:

    • Pre-audit Check: Identify areas for improvement to enhance your chances of a successful audit.

    • Training and Qualifications: Ensure personnel involved in the audit process are well-trained, with specific requirements including a certificate of qualification for "VDA 6.3:2023 – Process Auditor – Qualification" and a certificate of expertise in Automotive Core Tools.

  2. Audit Process:

    • Onsite Audit: Conducted by experts, focusing on an in-depth assessment tailored to the organization's needs.

    • Scoring and Evaluation: The audit is scored, with automatic disqualification for certain nonconformities and where minimum requirements are not met in the production process.

  3. Post-Audit Actions:

    • Application for Certification: Upon a successful audit, apply for certification.

    • Periodic Audits: Engage in periodic audits to continuously improve company performance levels and maintain certification status.

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The Benefits of Implementing VDA 6.3 in Your Organization

Implementing VDA 6.3 within an organization brings a multitude of benefits, directly impacting the operational efficiency and global competitiveness of the business. Here are some of the key advantages:

  • Commitment to Excellence: By adhering to VDA 6.3 standards, organizations demonstrate a commitment to excellence, reliability, and high-quality service levels, enhancing their reputation in the industry.

  • Operational Benefits:

    • Reduction or elimination of downtime, minimizing wastage during the manufacturing process.

    • Identification of problem areas during audits, leading to improved operational efficiency and less warranty incidents.

  • Strategic Advantages:

    • Global recognition for commitment to the highest standards, increasing confidence in the company's products and services.

    • Attracting attention to the company's offerings, thereby supporting a premium strategy for global competitiveness.


Exploring VDA 6.3 reveals its crucial role in advancing quality management systems within the automotive sector, emphasizing not just compliance but a culture of continuous improvement and operational excellence. Achieving VDA 6.3 certification demands thorough preparation and a deep understanding of the audit process, setting a foundation for business growth and global competitiveness.

The implementation of VDA 6.3 paves the way for the adoption of innovative digital solutions provided by Mobile2b. Designed to meet your unique needs, Mobile2b offers smart audit technology and digital solutions that ease the transition towards digital excellence and tackle the challenges of digital transformation. Not only do we support most international standards, but we also offer the option for customization. As always, no programming required. 

Book a free consultation with Mobile2b now and start your digitalization journey towards surpassing industry standards and leading in quality management excellence.


What exactly is the VDA 6.3 standard in the context of German automotive manufacturing? 

VDA 6.3 is a guideline that mandates German automotive manufacturers to implement a quality management system. This system is designed to ensure the consistency and safety of their manufacturing processes. Platforms like Mobile2b can help manage quality and demonstrate compliance with the VDA 6.3 standard.

How does VDA 6.3 compare to other standards?

 VDA 6.3 is a process-based audit standard that focuses on evaluating and improving controls in the processes of new product introduction and manufacturing within an organization. It is specific to the German automotive industry and is established by the Verband der Automobilindustrie (VDA).

In what ways do VDA 6.3 and IATF 16949 differ? 

IATF 16949:2016 is a global standard for Quality Management System implementation in organizations. In contrast, VDA 6.3 is a process audit standard that focuses on the efficiency and quality of industrial performance, product quality, and overall organizational efficiency. While IATF 16949 is about system compliance, VDA 6.3 is more process-oriented.

What is the purpose of the VDA 6.3 evaluation? 

The VDA 6.3 Potential Analysis is a tool used to assess a potential supplier's quality management system. It evaluates the supplier's ability to consistently deliver high-quality products and services for a specific product line of the client.


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