Auto Collision Test Facility Scheduled for Completion in Late 2004

Dec 05, 2003 Ι Industry In-Focus Ι Auto Parts and Accessories Ι By , CENS
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Taiwan's Automotive Research & Testing Center (ARTC) recently announced that it would set up an international-standard auto-collision test facility with the aim of providing better certification services to local auto-parts makers and establishing cooperative ties with major international certification bodies.

ARTC president Liao Chiu-chin reported that construction of the facility would begin soon and be completed in late October 2004.

Liao noted that ever since its establishment the ARTC has been striving to win mutual-recognition agreements with foreign certification bodies, and that agreements already signed with a number of overseas institutions allow local certification of export products. The foreign institutions in question include the Automotive Manufacturers Equipment Compliance Agency of the United States, TUV of Germany, and the Institute of Applied Automotive Research of Spain.

The president also said that the Spanish institute recently set up a branch office within ARTC and plans to help local auto-parts makers win Europe's E-mark safety certification. Localized testing and certification services are expected to greatly reduce the time and cost of developing the European market for local products.

Liao added that since a large portion of Taiwan-made auto parts, especially aftermarket crash parts (parts that are replaced after collisions), are exported to the U.S., the ARTC has contacted the Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA) of the U.S. about a mutual-recognition agreement. He explained that more and more American insurance firms are willing to use non-original equipment (non-OE) replacement parts to repair insured cars, so long as those parts are certified by CAPA. Currently, Taiwan-made auto parts have to be sent to the U.S. for CAPA certification.

The ARTC hopes to break even in 2011, and to that end is increasing the scope of its services and expanding its testing facilities. These include a newly completed electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) laboratory as well as the planned collision-test facility, which will be Taiwan's first.

One local automaker has remarked that in the past, all redesigned car models developed by local manufacturers had to be sent back to their foreign technical partners for structural-safety tests. A collision-test facility in Taiwan will obviate that need, greatly cutting costs and upgrading the efficiency of local carmakers in developing new models.

The ARTC was established in 1990 by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) in cooperation with the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC), Environmental Protection Administration (EPA), and private-sector auto-making companies. So far, the founders have invested a total of NT$1.7 billion (US$50 million at NT$34:US$1) in the construction of testing facilities in the Changhua Coastal Industrial Park for the use of automobile and motorcycle industries. The latest of these, Taiwan's first world-class auto-testing labs and test track, were completed in the middle of 2002.

The new labs provide 200 types of testing services related to vehicle safety, parts quality, fuel consumption, pollution, vibration, noise, EMC, and instrument calibration. The center has also installed engineering-analysis equipment for the testing of advanced-safety vehicles and energy-saving vehicles.
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