The German trade association for the automotive industry is known by the initials VDA (Verband der deutschen Automobilindustrie E.V.) and given the size and importance of the automotive sector within the German economy it enjoys a good reputation and substantial influence. In 1997 the VDA set up a Quality Management Centre (QMC) for the benefit of German automotive OEM’s and their suppliers.  The work of the QMC ranges from developing systems and methods to shaping the future of quality management systems in the automotive industry.

Developed by VDA QMC and the German automotive industry, VDA 6.3 defines a process based audit standard for evaluating and improving controls in a manufacturing organisation’s processes. Revised in 2010, the standard was comprehensively restructured to reflect the changes to ISO9001 and customer specific requirements in the automotive industry. SMMT have been appointed by VDA QMC Germany to deliver approved VDA 6.3 training and qualification modules. The standard can be used by any organisation, either for internal process audits, or for evaluating potential or existing suppliers. Compliance to VDA 6.3 is mandated by some vehicle makers and encouraged by others.

VDA 6.3 is an excellent tool for process audits within the automotive industry acting as a guideline for performing audits. It provides information on the significance and application scope of a process audit over the entire product realization cycle in both manufacturing and services It defines the audit process, the criteria for evaluation of the process audit results and the requirements of the processes. At the heart of the standard, each step in the process is modelled with six links and is governed by the Deming Loop – Plan Do Check Act. There are three grades that an organisation can reach under VDA 6.3 – A, B & C. This means that an organisation can pass the audit but still have scope for further improvement.

To gain an understanding of VDA 6.3 the best place to start is a 2 day course on module A – Basic Principles. The module gives an overview of the requirements of VDA 6.3 Process Audit and the methodology of process based auditing.  At the end of this module delegates will understand the structure, content and scoring evaluation system of VDA 6.3, and be able to understand how the requirements apply to their own process areas. This course gives the entry qualification for delegates that wish to progress to Module BII and become competent to undertake audits to VDA 6.3. For those wishing to audit their suppliers to VDA 6.3, Module C – Exam Day would be required. Satisfactory completion leads to the participant being recognised as a qualified process auditor. Auditor card and certificates are issued directly from VDA QMC. Module E is a 5 day course incorporating the content of Module A, BII and C. The following diagram illustrates the range of courses available:

VDA 6.3

The German automotive industry is recognised on all sides as having successfully followed a premium strategy – developing brands which stand for high performance and high quality and production values. VDA 6.3 provides an opportunity to master some of the tools and approaches that have helped make this success possible. VDA 6.3 is particularly useful to a prime in any sector who wants to follow a premium strategy and wants to ensure that the supply chain is capable of supporting this approach to global competitiveness.

For further information on our VDA 6.3 training & qualification modules, please visit and view the VDA 6.3 page. If you would like to speak to someone about booking a place on one of our open courses or would like to explore the possibility of arranging a course within your organisation, please contact Niall Kealey on +44(0)121 717 6645 or email


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