The Quality Assurance employees know the optimum volume of cooling water for every single model of the 12 brands that are part of the Group. They test materials, engines and gears, they optimise socket joints, sealed seams and gaskets, and determine how the cars are to be transported from plant to Retailer. They know the correct white for the interior lighting, the perfect smell of the cockpit and the right sound of a door when it closes. They ask customers about their level of satisfaction, and quiz distribution about possible problems. “Actually, there’s no area where we’re not involved,” says Tuch.
And of course, Quality Assurance test drives all vehicles. As soon as Technical Development has passed the vehicles to Quality Assurance and approved them for series production, the cars are tested in “quality assurance drives” at over 21 stations worldwide – from South Africa to Russia. For instance, while vehicles in northern Scandinavia have to withstand extreme cold and deep snow, the focus in India is on monsoon rains and thus the volume of water that windscreen wipers and other components can deal with. In South Africa, on the other hand, instead of moisture each component is exposed to a fine dust. All conceivable variables are examined by Quality Assurance personnel. Every year, all the stations worldwide drive a total of more than 36 million kilometres, which is about 1,000 orbits of the Earth.