Auto Service World
News   August 27, 2003   by Auto Service World

Vehicle Manufacturers Prepared to Come Clean on Defects and Compaints, Many Suppliers Are Not

According to the results of a survey released today by automotive consultancy Syncata Corporation, more than 85% of vehicle manufacturers stated that they were prepared to generate and submit early warning reports to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as required by the Transportation Recall, Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation (TREAD) Act. In contrast, over 40% of suppliers stated that they were “not at all” or only “somewhat” prepared to generate and submit reports to NHTSA.
The TREAD Act requires vehicle and equipment makers to submit reports summarizing information about consumer complaints as well as warranty, legal claims, production volumes, field reports and incidents of death and injury to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The start of the first three month reporting period was recently pushed back by NHTSA from April 1, 2003 to July 1, 2003. The first reports are now due on December 1, 2003. The date for submitting baseline reports of historical data was also pushed back from August 1, 2003 to January 17, 2004.
“NHTSA’s requirements are complex, frequently changing and subject to multiple interpretations by their own legal team, which has made it difficult for many companies to understand their specific compliance steps,” said Marianne Grant, director of the Syncata business innovation center. “As a result, we’re seeing companies from all industry segments who have begun building TREAD Act compliance systems in-house and are seeking additional help to determine the most effective, accurate and rapid road to compliance,” Grant added.
Almost 40% of supplier respondents said that they understood the changing compliance requirements only “somewhat” or “not at all.” Of the 85% of manufacturers who stated they were prepared to generate and submit reports, just over 15% said they were “extremely well” prepared, slightly more than 30% said they were “very well” prepared and almost 40% said they were “adequately” prepared. The remaining nearly 15% of manufacturer respondents stated that they were only “somewhat” prepared to generate reports to NHTSA.
Manufacturers of medium and heavy vehicles, trailers and recreational vehicles, an industry segment that Syncata has serviced extensively with clients including Gillig Corporation and PACCAR, reported the highest preparedness, with 89% of those surveyed saying that their systems and assembly data are coded and mapped “very well” and “extremely well” to the required NHTSA categories. More than 53% of this segment of respondents felt that they understood the changing early warning reporting (EWR) requirements “very well” or “extremely well.”
In other findings, almost 70% of all those surveyed found industry associations, such as the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG), National Association of Trailer Manufacturers (NATM), National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA), Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) and the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) helpful in preparing them to meet EWR requirements. More than 80% of those surveyed stated that they found Syncata, a member of the AIAG TREAD Act Workgroup committee and an advisor to hundreds of affected companies across all industry segments, helpful in preparing for their EWR requirements.
Nearly 100 respondents participated in the survey, including manufacturers of light vehicles, Tier One and Two suppliers, RV/trailers, motorcycles, medium and heavy vehicles. More than 80% of the respondents were “directly responsible” for achieving TREAD compliance and represented a range of functional areas including compliance, engineering, executive, legal, quality, sales, service, technology systems, and warranty.

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