Automotive Standards

The automotive industry has many standards that are relevant for electronic components, and with good reason. These standards help to ensure safety, reliability and protect the environment. They are needed to operate the automotive industry effectively and efficiently, while also helping to drive innovation and facilitate international trade.

All systems developed using automotive electronics must be designed to withstand harsh environments. No matter what the operating conditions, these components are expected to work without fail.  Because of this, the quality requirements for automotive electronic components are more rigorous than those for consumer goods and specific standards must be met.

Two Critical Standards

Two important standards in the automotive industry are IATF 16949, a global quality management standard for the automotive industry that combines multiple international standards and focuses broadly on the entire quality management system for automotive manufacturers and suppliers; and AEC-Q200, a stress test qualification for passive components that ensures the reliability of specific electronic components under harsh conditions and specifically focuses on the reliability and durability of passive electronic components used in automotive applications. 

Although each standard focuses on different aspects within the automotive industry, both are essential in ensuring the quality and reliability of products used in the industry.

IATF 16949

IATF 16949 was developed by the International Automotive Task Force (IATF) and is aligned with ISO 9001, incorporating additional requirements specific to the automotive industry. This international standard for quality management systems (QMS) is specifically designed for the automotive sector. It focuses on continuous improvement, defect prevention and reduction of variation and waste in the supply chain from design to delivery.

The standard’s core requirements, include:

  • Quality Management System (QMS): Establishing a structured QMS that meets customer and regulatory requirements
  • Leadership and Commitment: Involvement of top management in the QMS
  • Planning: Risk management, setting quality objectives and planning changes
  • Support: Resource management, including human resources, infrastructure and environment
  • Operation: Product lifecycle processes, from design to delivery
  • Performance Evaluation: Monitoring, measurement, analysis, and evaluation of QMS performance
  • Improvement: Continuous improvement and corrective actions


Organizations are audited on a regular basis by accredited certification bodies to ensure compliance with IATF 16949.


AEC-Q200 was created by the Automotive Electronics Council (AEC), an organization that was founded in the 1990s by three of the United States’ major automobile manufactures – Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors. Its purpose was to establish global common part-qualification and quality-system standards for automotive electronic components. They are the standardization body responsible for establishing reliability and certification benchmarks for electronic components. Components that meet the specifications and standards set by the committee are suitable for use in the harsh automotive environment without additional component-level qualification testing.

The standard’s core requirements, include:

  • Stress Testing: Components are subjected to various stress tests such as temperature cycling, humidity, vibration, mechanical shock and more.
  • Electrical Performance: Testing for electrical parameters like capacitance, resistance, inductance and insulation resistance.
  • Mechanical Performance: Ensuring mechanical robustness and integrity.
  • Environmental Testing: Exposure to environmental factors like salt spray, thermal shock and moisture resistance.


Components must pass a series of tests specified in AEC-Q200 to be qualified. The testing process ensures that components meet the necessary reliability and durability standards for automotive use.

AKER auto grade crystals (CXAF series) have passed all testing items according to the requirements of AEC-Q200 Rev-E and AEC-Q200-002 REV-B with classification level 6. Aker offers a full range of AEC-Q200 Rev. D qualified crystals, including C7S Auto, C6S Auto, C5S Auto and C4S Auto that can be used when mission-critical timing components that meet stringent industry specs are needed. These qualified crystals meet AEC specifications and standards and are suitable for use in a harsh automotive environment without additional component-level qualification testing.

Both standards play a large part in the automotive industry. IATF 16949 governs the overall quality management practices for automotive manufacturers and suppliers, while AEC-Q200 ensures the reliability of specific passive components used in automotive electronics.