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Latest News

TTL Automotive Ltd. is now part of the leading expert organisation (27/02/2014)

DEKRA takes over British specialist service provider for OEM dealerships

  • Previously owner-managed company with around 100 employees
  • Strengthening DEKRA's market and brand presence in the UK

The internationally active expert organisation DEKRA has taken over the British company TTL Automotive Ltd. The company, headquartered in Stokenchurch near London, is active in the field of business improvement services for OEM dealerships. It serves its customers, mostly based in the UK, with individually tailored services in the fields of process optimisation and performance management.

"We are hoping that our take-over of TTL Automotive will strengthen our market presence and offer us improved access to customers from the automotive industry in the UK," says Clemens Klinke, a member of the Management Board of DEKRA SE and in charge of the Automotive business unit. "In addition, our DEKRA brand will be strengthened in the UK thanks to the take-over."

TTL Automotive Ltd. has a workforce of around 100 employees and was owner-managed prior to the take-over on 31 January. The two former owners, Mike Budny and Alex Underwood, will remain at the top of the company, even now that it is owned by DEKRA.

"The take-over of TTL Automotive will allow DEKRA to perfectly complement the services offered, for example, by its subsidiary DEKRA Automotive Solutions to vehicle manufacturers in the field of used car management and remarketing," says Dr. Rolf Krokel, CEO of DEKRA International GmbH, which coordinated the acquisition.

Up to now, the expert organisation has been represented in the UK with DEKRA Expert Ltd. The group also hopes the take-over of TTL will have a discernible effect on its activities, e.g. through more direct market access to the relevant brand dealerships.

About DEKRA

DEKRA SE is one of the world's leading expert organisations. The company currently runs activities in more than 50 countries. More than 30,000 employees are committed to ensuring long-term safety, quality and environmental protection. The DEKRA Business Units "Automotive", "Industrial" and "Personnel" provide professional and innovative services in the fields of vehicle testing, expert appraisals, international claims settlement, consulting, industrial testing, product testing, certification, environmental protection, qualification as well as temporary work. In 2013, DEKRA generated preliminary sales totalling approximately 2.3 billion Euros.

Message from DEKRA CEO Stefan Kolbl (12/12/2012)

Message from DEKRA CEO Stefan Kolbl (11/06/2011)

New strategy programme makes an impact: (10/12/2011)

DEKRA begins next stage of growth

  • Automotive services remain on the up worldwide
  • Temporary work with record growth
  • DEKRA with premier on the capital market
  • Stuttgart - The globally operating testing group DEKRA continues to grow profitably. In the 2011 financial year, the company is expected to exceed the EUR 2 billion revenues threshold. "Our strategy programme, DEKRA 2015, introduced at the beginning of the year, is having an impact. DEKRA has started the next stage of growth on the way to peak performance," said DEKRA CEO Stefan Kolbl of the expected approximately 8% increase in revenues to journalists in Stuttgart on Thursday. "DEKRA's EBIT is also set to increase significantly," Kolbl continued. "As of the end of 2011, the Group employs approximately 27,900 staff worldwide. That is around 3,000 more than last year."

    In order to expand in a secure financial environment, the company has raised funds in the free capital market for the first time. "Investors response to our EUR 200 million promissory note issue was excellent," said the DEKRA e.V. and DEKRA SE Management Board Chairman. Kolbl sees the high demand as clear confirmation of DEKRA's potential for growth. With the proceeds from the issue, DEKRA is investing in the optimisation of its business processes and is securing essential financial reserves for potential acquisitions.

    European market leader in used car management

    One of the highlights of the past financial year was the takeover of the French used car specialist AutoContact Holding SAS. The company is one of the leading European providers in used car management. In the current financial year, their 430 employees generated revenues of over EUR 50 million. "Together with our new French subsidiary, we are now the European market leader in the growing used car management segment," said Stefan Kolbl.

    The market position in the area of process safety was also strengthened. With the acquisition of Chilworth Global, a British specialist in explosion protection and process safety services, DEKRA has become one of the leading international providers in this area. "India and the USA are especially important for us strategically, allowing us to open up further markets in Asia and the American continent from there," says the head of DEKRA.

    China in focus

    Another important growth market is China - particularly in product testing and certification. Today, DEKRA has five testing laboratories in China and employs around 600 employees at nine locations. In spring 2011, DEKRA began operations at the new Asian headquarters in Shanghai for product testing, certification, automotive testing and industrial testing. The building houses one of the most up-to-date electronics testing laboratories in China, in which DEKRA experts use high-tech procedures to test LEDs, for example.

    Further progress in internationalisation

    Automotive Services made a significant contribution to the success of 2011. "The Automotive business unit remains the backbone of the DEKRA Group. In this area, we have further reinforced our position as number one in the world," emphasised Kolbl. In the current financial year, DEKRA increased revenues by almost 8% to EUR 1.2 billion. The German DEKRA Automobil GmbH alone contributed approximately EUR 860 million to that figure. But DEKRA has also grown on an international level. With expert automotive services, the companies abroad contributed around EUR 310 million to Group revenues.

    In mid-November 2011, DEKRA acquired a majority stake in Brazilian inspection specialist JOPEMA. The company is one of Brazil's leading automotive inspection organisations and offers both damage assessment and claims management. "With the acquisition of JOPEMA, we are consolidating our position in this growth market quite substantially and are now a full-service provider of automotive services in Brazil as well," said Stefan Kolbl.

    Industrial testing services portfolio expanded

    Industrial testing services have developed positively in an environment characterised by fierce competition. Revenues climbed by more than 6% to approximately EUR 530 million. "With the acquisition of Chilworth Global, we have brought explosion protection and process safety expertise into the company and opened up new markets. We thus improved our access to multinational companies in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry," said Kolbl. In addition, the business unit has grown in the areas of renewable energy, construction and real estate.

    Just a few weeks ago, DEKRA Certification issued the US Hilton Group, with more than 3,750 hotels and resorts in 85 countries, with certification for quality management systems in accordance with ISO 9001 and for environmental management systems in accordance with ISO 14001. In addition to the classic ISO Standards, DEKRA developed an energy and sustainability standard especially for Hilton. Hilton expects savings of USD 74 million.

    Demand for temporary work accelerates growth

    The third key business unit, DEKRA Personnel, benefited from the economic upturn during the financial year. The DEKRA Arbeit Group's revenues rose by almost a third year-on-year to more than EUR 200 million. The number of temporary workers under contract increased by approximately 800 to currently around 8,000. DEKRA is represented at 17 locations abroad.

    The DEKRA Akademie Group has expanded its portfolio particularly in the corporate customer business, such as in the areas of air transport logistics, medical care and electromobility. Through a partnership with Shell FuelSave, driving skills were augmented with lorry driver training focusing on economical driving. With more than 120,000 seminar participants a year, the DEKRA Academy is one of the most important private education providers in Germany. However, due to government austerity measures, the DEKRA Academy's revenues remained below those of the previous year.

    The future holds market potential

    Despite economic uncertainty, Kolbl expects the company to develop positively in 2012. He estimates that global demand for independent inspection, monitoring, testing and certification will continue to increase. "As the leading global provider of testing and safety services, DEKRA will be in a position to exploit the available market potential," says the head of DEKRA. "As part of our DEKRA 2015 corporate strategy, we will also invest increasingly in our infrastructure and processes and further expand our international presence - by means of both partnerships and targeted acquisitions with which we will cement our current market position," Kolbl explained. For this expansion, DEKRA is focusing strategically on growth markets in North and South America and Asia.

Expert organisation DEKRA continues to expand (14/12/2010)

New growth markets in sight

  • Automotive services maintain leading international position
  • Industrial testing focuses on Chinese growth market
  • Temporary Work benefits from economic boom in Europe

Stuttgart - The globally operating testing group DEKRA expects an increase in sales of around 8% to EUR 1.84 billion for the 2010 financial year. "We have boosted our revenues to a record high and therefore maintained a high growth rate in a tough market environment compared with the previous year," said Stefan Kolbl, Chairman of the Management Boards of DEKRA e.V. and DEKRA SE on 9 December at a press conference in Stuttgart. According to Kolbl, Group profit will be at the high level of the previous year. The positive development of DEKRA is also reflected in the number of employees. The company increased its workforce by over 1,800 new staff members in 2010 and today DEKRA has around 24,000 employees worldwide. More than a third is now based outside Germany. The head of DEKRA announced that the expert organisation was focusing increasingly on growth markets. Furthermore, following the rapid expansion seen over the past few years DEKRA will concentrate on the strategic bundling of its broad range of services and the enhancement of internal processes in the coming financial year.

The highlights of the financial year included the acquisition of the Swedish industrial testing service provider AF-Kontroll. The takeover was a decisive step towards positioning DEKRA as a leading provider of testing services for the energy industry in the refinery, nuclear power and renewable energies sectors. With around 450 employees, AF-Kontroll posts revenues of some EUR 43 million. The company has 27 sites in Sweden as well as branches in Norway, the Czech Republic and Lithuania.

Chinese market as a key strategic region

In China the DEKRA Management Board chairman expects major growth in the testing business for products, buildings and industrial plants and for certification: "Since acquiring the Dutch company KEMA Quality at the end of 2009, we now have five product testing laboratories in China and employ more than 300 staff at nine locations. In future, as well as our European customers we will also support Chinese companies in their ongoing internationalisation."

DEKRA also expanded in the US. Following the acquisition of Truck Remarketing Services, the company can now carry out truck appraisals throughout the entire US and Canada. DEKRA's range of services in the US was additionally extended by the purchase of the inspection company Magoo's. With 4,000 inspectors, the Californian company specialises in online-supported value and damage assessment for passenger cars, trucks, motorcycles and boats. DEKRA also boosted its automotive business with the Coorevits Group, the leading organisation for motor vehicle inspections in Belgium. In Italy the MC Group with consulting services for the motor vehicle and transport industry was added.

On-road testing of electric cars

Automotive services were one of the Group's growth engines in 2010. Sales of the DEKRA Automotive business unit have gone up by around 5% this year to EUR 1.1 billion. DEKRA Automobil GmbH in Germany made a major contribution to this performance. One of this year's predominant themes was electric mobility. DEKRA is preparing intensively for the testing of electric vehicles. On-road testing of the suitability for daily use of electric vehicles is being carried out at many branches.

Enhanced capacity through corporate mergers

With an upturn of 23%, the Industrial Testing Business will this year achieve sales of almost EUR 500 million. Sales have been increased tenfold within six years. The reorganisation and merging of individual group companies in France and Germany have enabled enhanced capacity and efficiency to be attained. The French subsidiary DEKRA Industrial S.A. will also be responsible for expansion in Southern Europe, North and South Africa and in the Near and Middle East.

Temporary Work benefiting from economic upturn

Despite economic challenges, the Personnel business unit will maintain its previous year's revenues of over EUR 300 million. The DEKRA Academy has felt the impact of government austerity measures in its publicly subsidised business. By contrast, the Temporary Work business unit benefited from the upturn in the automotive industry and the large personnel demand entailed by this. The Group increased its year-on-year revenues by a strong 34% to around EUR 145 million.

Setting the course strategically

In his outlook for the 2011 financial year, DEKRA boss Stefan Kolbl announced new goals in the Group strategy. "We have succeeded in almost doubling the revenues of our company since 2004 and building up a strong and stable company. As well as concentrating on global growth markets, our focus lies on the strategic bundling of our broad range of services and the enhancement of our internal processes," said Kolbl. "In the weeks to come we will present a new growth and efficiency enhancement program that we intend to implement by the year 2015."

DEKRA on the fast lane (21/05/2010)

DEKRA's strong economic growth continues

Click here to read the pdf article --> DEKRA on the fast lane

Supervisory Boards decide on comprehensive executive personnel changes: (21/12/2009)

New Executive Board at DEKRA

  • Stefan Kolbl appointed Chairman of the Boards of DEKRA e.V. and DEKRA AG
  • Roland Gerdon confirmed as Member of the Boards of DEKRA e.V. and DEKRA AG
  • Clemens Klinke, Mark Thoma and Jorg Mannsperger appointed as new Members of the Board of DEKRA AG

Stuttgart - The Presidential Board of DEKRA e.V. and the Supervisory Board of DEKRA AG convened on 16th December 2009 to decide on new appointments to the Boards of DEKRA e.V. and DEKRA AG.

  • Dipl.-Volkswirt Stefan Kolbl (42) has been appointed by the Supervisory Boards as the new Chairman of the Boards of DEKRA e.V. and DEKRA AG as of 1st January 2010. Kolbl succeeds Dr. h.c. Klaus Schmidt(51), who stepped down on 1st December 2009 due to health reasons.

    After previously working as a management consultant, Stefan Kolbl has been with DEKRA since 2000. He started his career as Head of the Chairman's Office of DEKRA e.V. In 2003 he was appointed as Managing Director of the economically ailing DEKRA Akademie. Within only two years Kolbl succeeded in turning around what is today's largest private training service provider in Germany.

    On 1st September 2006, Stefan Kolbl was assigned to the management of DEKRA's international automotive services. As Head of the Business Unit DEKRA Automotive International he was responsible for approximately 2,000 employees outside Germany. In 2009 they generated a sales volume of 220 million Euro with vehicle testing, expertises, used car management and claims services. Highlights were the acquisition of the Dutch appraisal specialists BARTOK in 2008 followed by the purchase of the Brazilian VOLCHI Group in early 2009. Brazil is now the third largest automotive market served by DEKRA after Germany and France.

  • Dipl.-Kfm. Roland Gerdon (48) was confirmed by the Supervisory Boards as Member of the Boards of DEKRA e.V. and DEKRA AG. His responsibilities remain unchanged. He is responsible for Human Resources as well as the IT and financial strategy of the entire Group. Gerdon has been a Member of the Board of DEKRA AG since 2003. In 2006 he was also appointed as Member of the Board of DEKRA AG. Since 2005 Roland Gerdon has been the Personnel Director of DEKRA AG. Under his direction, the workforce of DEKRA has expanded from around 11,000 to more than 21,000 employees today.
    Gerdon joined DEKRA in 1999 as Head of Personnel. He was responsible for the personnel strategy, the coordination and management of the personnel units as well as advising the Top management in personnel matters. Previously Roland Gerdon was in charge of the internal training at Daimler AG in Stuttgart-Unterturkheim.

In addition to Stefan Kolbl and Roland Gerdon, the Board of DEKRA AG will include the Heads of the Business Units, Dipl.-Ing. Clemens Klinke (53) of DEKRA Automotive, Mark Thoma (41) of DEKRA Industrial and Jorg Mannsperger (48), DEKRA Personnel.

  • The mechanical engineer Clemens Klinke has been with DEKRA since 1984. After holding positions as an testing and inspection engineer, branch manager and sales director responsible for DEKRA branches, he joined the Board of Management of DEKRA Automobil GmbH in 2004. Since January 2006 Klinke has been Chairman of the Board of Management and HR Director. The vehicle testing and expertises business provides the largest share of sales within the DEKRA Group. With around 22 million vehicle tests per year, DEKRA is the world's undisputed market leader. The intention is to consolidate the domestic and international activities into the Business Unit Automotive under the management of Clemens Klinke.
  • Mark Thoma started his DEKRA career in 1996 as Managing Director of DEKRA International GmbH. After holding positions as Managing Director of DEKRA France and DEKRA Veritas Industrial he was appointed Head of the Business Unit DEKRA Industrial. Mark Thoma was strongly involved in the acquisition of a majority stake of the formerly state-owned French truck testing centres and the third largest French industrial testing services provider NORISKO. Within a short period of time the financial expert Thoma developed DEKRA's industrial services business into DEKRA's second strongest growth pillar.
  • The lawyer and journalist Jorg Mannsperger joined DEKRA in 1997. After nine years as Managing Director of the ETM Publishing House, he became the Managing Director of the DEKRA Akademie GmbH in 2006. In addition, he was assigned Managing Director of DEKRA Qualification GmbH in 2007. During his tenure the training business expanded its market position significantly with double-digit growth rates. On 1st December 2009 Jorg Mannsperger was appointed as Head of the Business Unit DEKRA Personnel, which bundles all of DEKRA's integrated personnel services.

'The Presidential Council of DEKRA e.V. as the highest supervisory committee of DEKRA and the Supervisory Board of DEKRA AG are convinced that these executive personnel appointments will ensure the continuous development of DEKRA,' commented Prof. Dr. Gerhard Zeidler, Chairman of the Presidential Council of DEKRA e.V. and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of DEKRA AG on the decisions. Gerhard Zeidler wished the newly appointed Board Members great success in their future work. 'By taking their swift and comprehensive decision, the Supervisory Boards have created the core of personnel that will see DEKRA continuing its successful growth course,' said Zeidler.

The Presidential Council of DEKRA e.V

First quarter sales in 2009 up by ten percent (15/05/2009)

DEKRA bucks economic trend

  • Testing organisation remains on course to achieve sales target of two billion euros by 2010
  • Evolution into complete provider in attractive growth markets
  • Further expansion achieved by blend of organic growth and acquisitions

Stuttgart - The international technical services organisation DEKRA continues to grow despite the global downturn. "Our target of achieving a sales volume of two billion euros by the end of 2010 remains a realistic one," stated DEKRA boss Dr. Klaus Schmidt speaking at the Financial Statement Press Conference held in Stuttgart on May 14th, 2009. "As of April 2009 we have already improved our overall sales by ten per cent vis-a-vis the same period last year. The growth is once again being fuelled by more industrial inspections, automotive services, education and training." Schmidt described last year as a "year of strategic expansion." All in all, DEKRA made 15 acquisitions with a combined sales volume of around 100 million euros annually and thereby accessed new growth markets. Including the organic growth recorded by all the Business Units, the Group's sales increased by almost 11 per cent to 1.596 billion euros. The pre-tax profits grew by 12.3 per cent to 94.7 million euros.

"Together with the global increase in demand for safety and quality-related services, our clearly defined strategic focus on growth markets promises an excellent future. Although the economic downturn has not left us completely unscathed, we have so far been able to more than compensate for dips in sales in, for example, the temporary work sector or in real estate and construction." Member of the Board Roland Gerdon added that "we have remained true to our reputation of being one of the job motors in the European service sector. In 2008 the workforce grew by roughly 2,000, of which around 1,000 had resulted from acquisitions." Overall, DEKRA now has a workforce of more than 20,000.

World market leader in the automotive sector

In the automotive business alone, DEKRA increased its sales in 2008 by more than 12 per cent. "With sales of almost 1 billion euros we are the undisputed Number One in the global market and more than twice as large as our nearest competitor" emphasised Schmidt. In Germany DEKRA Automobil GmbH was able to maintain its market lead in vehicle inspections. In a widely distributed sector, it was successfully able to defend its market share of around 35 per cent.

Appraisals posted a significant improvement in sales, with used car management, vehicle evaluations and homologations making a considerable contribution. With its used car management systems DEKRA CarOperator and FleetOperator, DEKRA is reaching out to an increasing number of customer groups and has already established itself as the market leader in Germany in this segment. The acquisition of GKK Gutachtenzentrale in early 2008 gives DEKRA broader access to fleet- and leasing customers.

Internationally, further companies serving the automotive sector were set up in Great Britain, Croatia, North- and South Africa as well as in Russia with promising growth markets for expert services being developed. In France, the second core market after Germany, DEKRA bolstered its market position by establishing new business areas such as, for example, vehicle type testing and used car management. In preparation for the planned introduction of periodic vehicle monitoring for cars in South Africa, DEKRA has entered into a joint venture with South African partners. Mandatory inspections - so-called "road-worthy tests" - of cars which have undergone a change of ownership are already being offered at 40 test centres.

Broad-based range of industrial inspection services

"By posting a sales increase of more than 15 per cent, we have managed to turn industrial inspection into the second strong pillar within the company," said the DEKRA head. In Europe and beyond, DEKRA has more than 4,500 staff in this segment which produces sales of 351 million euros.

In the first year of full market liberalisation for industrial inspections DEKRA has already been able to land numerous new key contracts in Germany, too. One in four fuel stations in Germany is now inspected by DEKRA Industrial while since liberalisation of the market a further 50,000 elevator inspection contracts have been agreed. Furthermore, DEKRA is already one of the three key providers of non-destructive materials testing services in Germany. Within DEKRA Umwelt GmbH, the business unit Sustainability Management has been restructured. It offers services associated with the chemicals ordinance REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals) of the European Union and energy efficiency analyses.

International activities are developing just as dynamically. The expansion into new business areas and markets - for example, wind energy in Spain and oil and gas in Algeria - has seen the range of services successfully increased. Product testing is another growth market.

"Our French subsidiary NORISKO will switch to trading under the name of DEKRA Industrial S.A. at the beginning of the second half of 2009." Schmidt explained that this was part of the global strategy of brand harmonisation with the long-term goal of achieving a harmonised group presence across the globe.

DEKRA Akademie records the best year in its history.

DEKRA Personnel had a successful year, recording a rise in sales of 7.1 per cent. Thanks to the introduction of innovative learning methods, the DEKRA Akademie achieved a sales growth of more than 17 per cent and thus recorded the best year in its history. It tops the rankings of private training providers in Germany.

The DEKRA Arbeit Group was also able to improve its figures in 2008. The hitherto disproportionate growth recorded by DEKRA Arbeit GmbH in Germany was hindered, however, by a lack of qualified applicants. Over the course of 2008 and in early 2009 market volume began to suffer from the effects of the economic slowdown. The general economic situation led the group to target higher quality services more heavily than previously in, for example, the engineering- and medical staff professions.

Acquisitions drive growth

An important strategic move to foster international growth was made in early 2009 by acquiring a majority stake in the Brazilian Volchi Holding based in Sao Paulo. Volchi comprises the companies Linces Vistorias, Checkauto and Identicar. The service spectrum ranges from insurance appraisals to database-supported vehicle management and extends to marking vehicles as an anti-theft measure. "The acquisition of Volchi makes DEKRA the largest technical services organisation in Brazil," says Schmidt.

In the Netherlands, the Bartok Group was successfully integrated into the group. The appraisal specialist along with the DEKRA Claims Services Group forms an important hub for the international appraisal and claims settlement activities of the entire Group.

A further strategic acquisition was the purchase of the Finnish safety service provider Polartest. The company is the Finnish Number One in the field of material testing and the second largest provider in the field of testing pressurised vessels. Polartest also possess important knowledge about the testing of the latest generation of atomic power stations.

Global Automotive Expert Targets the UK (17/11/2008)

Following DEKRA Automotive International GmbH's recent acquisition of Vehicle Inspection company Carcheckers Ltd, DEKRA strategically places itself with a foothold 'on the road' in the UK for rapid and sustained growth in the coming months and years.

In recent years DEKRA's globalisation has been planned and implemented from Brazil to China to South Africa carefully and methodically. This international growth has been built on strong, enduring partnerships and trust, but missing from DEKRA's rapidly expanding business portfolio has been a real presence in Europe's third largest car parc, the UK. This gap has now been filled and the opportunity to provide the full range of DEKRA's renowned, respected and innovative Automotive Solutions in the UK marketplace has arrived.

As one of the world's leading service providers in the Automotive sector the newly formed UK company, DEKRA Expert Ltd, is well placed for future growth. said Managing Director Peter Chapman, The acquisition of Carcheckers Ltd creates a winning formula, the management team's wealth of local knowledge of the industry combined with DEKRA's 'Know How' and commitment to Safety and Quality services. When tailored to suit individual clients and customers requirements this represents an unrivalled ability to deliver promptly, efficiently and responsibly.

Founded in 1925 DEKRA is now an independent provider of Expert Services with a Global customer base. Over 140 subsidiaries and associated companies around the Globe are committed to delivering Safety and Quality in the areas of technology, mobility and the environment.

If you would like more information about the products and services available from DEKRA Expert please call 01494 417889 or email info@dekra-expert.co.uk or visit our website www.dekra-expert.co.uk. If you want to know more about DEKRA's Global Services go to www.dekra.com.

EU Project Safety - TechnoPro informs about electronic assistant systems (29/07/2008)

Training platform for professionals

Project brings dealership staff and experts bang up to date

STUTTGART - Assistant systems in the car, such as ESP or emergency braking assistant, can save lives. Yet many car sellers are insufficiently informed about the safety systems or do not pass on their knowledge systematically in the sales talks to the motorist. Sponsored by the EU, the project 'Safety-TechnoPro' now intends to use an internet-based training platform to target multipliers such as car sellers, workshop personnel and experts and bring them bang up to date on electronic driver assistant systems (DAS). Project partners are the University of Magdeburg, DEKRA Qualification GmbH and the three Spanish institutions of IDIADA, RACC and Centro Zaragoza. The project is also being supported by the Association of the German Motor Vehicle Trade and the German Road Safety Council.

Under the direction of the DEKRA Akademie GmbH, the test version of the website will be given a practical test from July through September 200 by selected dealerships, garages and experts in several EU countries, and the full version of the information and training system developed. 'We are hoping that car dealers, workshop personnel and experts will take a great interest in this project and submit suggestions for improvement,' says Carsten Weber, Project Manager at DEKRA Qualification GmbH. As opinion leaders in the automotive branch they would be contributing to the swifter spread of electronic driver assistant systems and to more safety on the roads. Additionally, they also receive extensive free information on the new technology which can help them every day in their negotiations.'

Technical experts are unanimous that the technical staff at dealerships and workshops as well as specialists have a central role to play in advising and informing the motorist on the potential of the electronic lifesavers. This is because the car-buying consumer only spends additional money on electronic assistant systems when he understands their function and can see a safety advantage for himself. In coming to this decision the consumer lends a lot of weight to information provided by experts. A survey conducted by Bosch revealed that 62 per cent of interviewees saw the vehicle dealer as the most important source of information when buying a car.

More recent studies and tests have shown, however, that the knowledge of multipliers on the function and potential of modern vehicle assistant systems are frequently not up to date or patchy. This means that the ability to advise and inform the consumer about the benefit of the systems is impaired. The new internet-based information and training platform is designed to enable experts to communicate the functions and safety potential of the systems to the consumer in a simple and comprehensible language.

In the lead-in phase of Safety-TechnoPro the project partners conducted two studies to determine the willingness of experts to promote the spread of assistant systems and the inclination of the end customer to use and buy such systems. The training platform picks up on the reservations of the consumer, deals with widely held prejudices and supplies important arguments in favour of the purchase of electronic driver assistant systems. And finally, it also clarifies the preconditions under which the motorist is prepared to spend money on the new safety technologies in the car.

The test version is available in several languages and can be accessed on www.safety-technopro.info/beta2. This gives an easy-to-understand description of the function, benefit, technological basis as well as application and uses of individually selected assistant systems.

For more information:

DEKRA Qualification GmbH, Carsten Weber, Handwerkstr. 15, D-70565 Stuttgart,
Tel. 0711-7861-3619, Fax -2655, Email: carsten.weber@dekra.com,
Internet: www.safety-technopro.info

More information on driver assistant systems can also be found on the campaign page of the German Road Safety Council (DVR) on www.bester-beifahrer.de.

'The new DEKRA Road Safety Report is far more than a simple compilation of data. It is intended to give politicians, transport experts and not least every motorist a set of recommendations on how statutory requirements and personal actions can lead to a greater reduction in the number of accidents involving fatalities and injured, than was previously the case', explained Dipl.-Ing. Clemens Klinke, Head of the Business Unit DEKRA Automotive and Chairman of the Management Board at DEKRA Automobil GmbH when presenting the report on 25th June at a parliamentary evening in the regional offices of Baden-Württemberg in Berlin.

In the interest of a continued increase in road safety, it is important to be active on various fronts. Apart from the measures already undertaken, such as improved rescue techniques - for example, issue of the driving licence at age17, the 0.0 ppt limit for beginner drivers, or the increased frequency of police checks for alcohol and drugs - greater focus must be placed on the vehicle itself. The equipping of new vehicles with modern electronic systems as standard equipment offers the greatest potential for avoiding accidents or reducing their severity.

However, according to Klinke, a considerable increase in safety in line with the EU Charter would without doubt also result from shortening the main inspection interval to one year once cars had been registered for eight years or more. Several studies - including the international 'AUTOFORE - Study on the future options for roadworthiness enforcement in the European Union - have come to the same conclusion. This is because one thing is undisputed: As the vehicle age increases, the frequency of faults rises dramatically due to general wear and/or a lack of maintenance. This situation also applies to safety-relevant systems which, in the interest of all road users, must function perfectly over the entire vehicle life.

As the cited AUTOFORE Study shows, in Germany alone shorter inspection intervals for older vehicles could reduce the number of road fatalities by around 200 annually. In addition, a study by the University of Cologne conducted in 2007 revealed that a swifter introduction of ESP could prevent an additional 100 road fatalities in Germany every year. Moreover, this figure would rise to 4000 if the measure applied to all the 25 EU member states. To give another example: the tail of a traffic jam is frequently noticed too late as a result of inattention or miscalculation. Many, and often particularly severe accidents, are caused by such failures. The blanket introduction of 'Predictive Safety Systems', for example the 'Predictive Emergency Braking' system (PEB) and the 'Predictive Collision Warning' system (PCW) would mean that around 350 road fatalities and almost 50,000 injured would permanently disappear from the accident statistics.

DEKRA presents new Road Safety Report (25/06/2008)

Potential of modern technology not exploited

  • More than 500 lives could be saved in Germany alone
  • EU Charter objectives would be reached by 2010

STUTTGART - DEKRA is appealing to the national and the European powers that be to take advantage of the safety potential already available by initiating the blanket introduction of electronic driver assistant systems and by shortening the inspection intervals in the interest of road safety. This would enable the declared objective of the European Road Safety Charter of the European Commission, which sets out to reduce the number of road accident fatalities by 2010 to 25,000, to be reached after all.

DEKRA analyses average costs of new, almost new and old vehicles (04/04/2008)

Clever driving with young cars

LEIPZIG. - Many motorists believe that they can save a lot of money if they keep their car for as long as possible. A cost analysis conducted by DEKRA has now revealed surprising results. According to the analysis, driving a car until it is only fit for the scrap heap can also prove to be an expensive luxury. Motorists who take too long to switch to a newer vehicle must accept high repair and maintenance costs, which, however, are usually forgotten when the motorist considers running costs. The introduction of environmental zones in numerous regions in Germany will also have an effect: A whole range of older cars will soon become uneconomical due to a lack of exhaust purification system or to the relatively expensive process of retrofitting required of the owner.

The DEKRA cost comparison of new, almost new and old cars discovered that switching from an old car (8 years) to a newer used car (4 years) for small cars, compact cars and vans, brings with it cost advantages. In the case of small cars, this is still even true if the motorist switches to a new car. For compact cars and vans the new car can be had on average for an additional cost of between 48 and 99 euros a month. Drivers of medium-sized cars and premium intermediate cars are advised to switch from old to new for a moderate supplement of between, on average, 22 and 57 euros a month. In the medium-sized car and van segment, the step towards a new car is also not a great one, the extra cost being 109 and 98 a month.

As a result, for the similar costs of an old vehicle or for a moderate supplement many motorists could enjoy the higher safety standard, the optimised environmental friendliness and the improved comfort of an almost new or even a brand new car', said Dr. Gerd Neumann, Member of the Board of Management of DEKRA Automobile GmbH, speaking at the traditional DEKRA Press Breakfast at the car show 'Automobil Messe International' (AMI) in Leipzig.

Dr. Neumann went on to say that 'The figures clearly show that it hardly makes sense to keep a car for as long as possible. It is more economical to switch in good time to a newer used car or a new car. Furthermore, the driver is going without the life-saving safety standard of modern vehicles, such as, for example, the skid protection system ESP or optimised occupant cells. To put it succinctly: anybody driving his car for too long is damaging the environment, endangering his own life and that of other road users and is frequently also burning a hole in his wallet.'

In the past few years the vehicle stock in Germany has become increasingly older. According to calculations made by the Federal Office for Motor Traffic, the average age of cars on 1st January 2007 was 8.1 years, a new record. Only after an average of 12.0 years (as of 1.1.2007) do cars find their way to the scrap yard or are sent abroad. Adding everything together and considering the fixed costs (purchase price, loss in value, tax and insurance), the variable costs (fuel, repair, maintenance and upkeep costs), the length of use (four years, 15 600 kilometres/year) and taking the average market prices for new and used cars, there does not remain a lot of difference, in most cases, to the assumed cost advantages of older cars.

The running costs for relatively new small cars, for example, of 43.91 cents per kilometre for a four-year-old vehicle are significantly below the old car figure (eight years) of 47.87 cents per kilometre. This means that drivers of newer cars nevertheless save in comparison to the older ones 618.28 euros a year. Another surprising finding: the running costs of an old small car (eight years) are even slightly above the figure for a new car with 46.12 ct/km, so that the driver of a new car pays 273.52 euros less a year than the driver of the old car, and at the same time enjoys the 'luxury' of a brand-new car, which boasts the absolutely latest standards in safety, environmental protection and comfort.

In the compact class, too, the relatively new car with 49.24 cents a kilometre is the first choice as far as economy is concerned. Here, too, the driver of the old vehicle (50.62 ct/km) still has to pay 215.28 euros a year more for the lower standard in safety, environmental friendliness and comfort than for the four-year-old used car. If the driver is prepared to pay an additional 47.49 euros a month, he would already be able to afford a new car equipped with the most up-to-date safety, environment and comfort standards. Merely the drivers of old compact class cars, who would be prepared to do without repair and maintenance (7.09 ct/km) and collision damage insurance (6.72 ct/km) can drive for considerably less (36.81 ct/km) - although they do this at the cost of safety and also the environment.

A similar picture is to be found with vans. Here the new used car with 56.11 ct/km is 519.48 euros a year cheaper than the old vehicle with costs per kilometre of 59.44 cents. The new car here is to be had for a monthly supplement of almost one hundred euros (98.41 euros).

The overall costs of old cars (eight years) in the medium-sized car segment are 57.59 ct/km and thus lower than the new used car (59.30 ct/km); however, the cost advantage is merely 266.76 euros a year or 22.23 euros a month. Investment in the new car would cost 1313.52 euros a year or 109.46 euros a month, which is still worth considering.

Even in the intermediate premium segment, i.e. where the Audi A6, BMW 5 and Mercedes E Class are at home, the differences between the overall costs of old vehicles (72.80 ct/km) and new used cars (77.16 ct/km) are still quite clear. The motorist can drive the newer version for 680.16 euros a year or 56.68 euros a month. The supplement for the new vehicle (89.01 ct/km) is, however, 210.73 euros a month.

Greater accident risk in older cars

Safety considerations also definitely make a timely switch to a newer car advisable. A DEKRA study revealed that the risk for vehicles leapt dramatically with increasing age. The evaluation of 6,000 accident assessments shows that cars between nine and eleven years old had three times more potential danger than a three-year-old car. The periodic main inspection led to similar findings. In 2006 the fault quota rose from 16.4 per cent for three-year-old vehicles to 66.9 per cent for vehicles over nine years of age. The vehicle safety campaign SafetyCheck 2007, in which the cars of around 14,000 young drivers were inspected unprepared and on a voluntary basis, discovered a fault quota for vehicles over eight years of age of virtually 80 per cent. Safety-relevant components such as brakes, chassis and lights were disproportionately affected.

New vehicles also provide the motorist with the latest safety technology. According to Bosch, 48 per cent of cars were fitted with the anti-skid system ESP in 2001; in 2006 the figure was almost 77 per cent. Furthermore, exhaust and engine technology has made considerable progress in the past few decades, as the development which has improved the maximum exhaust emission figures from Euro 1 (1992/93) to Euro 5 (2009) amply demonstrates.

For the cost-conscious car buyer, one-year-old cars, day registration and almost new used cars represent a worthwhile alternative to a new car. These cars possess a high safety standard and a favourable exhaust classification approaching that of the new car. They have the high loss of value which kicks in at the start of a car's life already behind them in some cases and are therefore considerably cheaper to buy than a new car. According to the Schwacke Car Index, the residual value of two-year-old cars in the small-medium-sized car segment which have clocked up 35,000 kilometres is around 30 - 35 per cent below the value of the car new.

Calculations made by DEKRA economy experts tend to suggest, however, that irrespective of the results of the present cost analysis, every motorist must precisely study his own individual situation when buying a car to come up with the variant that proves most inexpensive for him personally. For instance, the purchase of a car that retains its value, such as, for example, the BMW Mini, has a favourable impact on the cost calculation. Anybody wishing to optimise their vehicle costs, must, however, also pay attention to the particularly considerable differences in accident free discounts and type class classification as well as the small things such as the class of particulate sticker, DEKRA experts stress. The annual insurance costs for a new Opel Astra, for example are more than 200 euros less than for a new used car.

DEKRA Akademie contributes to the success of the EU research project EUCAM (18/02/2008)

Life-long learning without frontiers

Globally standardised training of workers devised for the automotive industry

How can a globally operating automotive industry train its production employees in a standardised way and improve the process of intercultural knowledge transfer? This was the task facing the EU project EUCAM (Multilingual Communication in European Car Manufacturing). In response, the team headed by Daimler AG and the Infoman GmbH and working alongside experts from the DEKRA Akademie developed a multilingual learning infrastructure. At the end of January a successful trial period under day-to-day industrial conditions marked the completion of the project.

The IT-aided learning structure provides images of all the work stages in assembly, manufacturing and repair as part of a demanding didactic concept. It ensures that production workers can be given both initial and further training in a standardised way directly at their place of work. An automated translation system enables the contents of the training to be transmitted to locations in other countries. This integrates production workers all over Europe into the learning programme, contributes to life-long learning goals and ensures long-term knowledge management on the manufacturing side. EUCAM has incorporated content from across the entire production chain. The knowledge of suppliers and machine manufacturers can also be continually integrated into the central learning system. Intended to be accessible to all, the learning structure is designed to improve the degree of technical cooperation between the manufacturers, machine manufacturers and suppliers at the international level. EUCAM can enrich the daily routine of the skilled worker allowing him/her to acquire the training specifically required during the work process.

The DEKRA Akademie was made responsible for solving the methodological-didactic problems during the 30 month duration of the project - typical questions being: how is knowledge to be presented so that the intended recipient understands it and under what conditions does learning in the production process work best? In addition, the experts concerned themselves with intercultural training, preparing staff here in Germany for the culturally different circumstances in other countries. For instance, in Turkey completely different learning biographies are encountered, or in the USA one can search in vain for a standardised educational system.

Other elements of the DEKRA Akademie remit were the presentation of the multilingual learning system at conferences, meetings and at universities together with the responsibility for devising a market study. This analysed in particular the acceptance of a work-process-oriented learning system such as EUCAM in industry and, finally, its chances of success in the markets of various countries.

The DEKRA Akademie GmbH was chosen by the EUCAM consortium because it is one of the largest private providers of vocational training and further training in Germany and as a result of its competence in the automotive industry. Other organisations taking part in the project were Daimler AG, EDAG Hungary KFT, European Metalworkers Federation (EMF), IG Metall, Infoman Informationsmanagement GmbH, Language Technology Center LTD and UAB LKSoft Baltic.

DEKRA Faults Report 2008 (08/01/2008)

German cars take pole position

  • BMW 1 has the lowest fault quota overall
  • More realistic: Mileage plays a key role
  • New categorisation: Faults report takes a completely new approach

STUTTGART - Winner in the faults ranking in the new DEKRA Faults Report 2008 is the BMW 1 series. The compact car boasts the lowest fault quota of all. The report divided the candidates into seven vehicle classes, each subdivided into three mileage groups. 14 of the 21 first places were taken by products from German manufacturers and their subsidiaries.

DEKRA experts have taken a completely new approach in compiling the DEKRA Faults Report 2008. In contrast to all previous reports, the car guide, which appears as a special edition of the magazine 'auto motor und sport', no longer records the faults according to vehicle age, but according to mileage. Moreover, only faults associated specifically with used cars which give an indication of the technical quality of the vehicle were taken into account. In contrast, the report disregards faults that tend to say more about how well a vehicle has been maintained, such as worn tyres, 'exhaust analysis overdue', 'first-aid kit out of date' or 'side mirror damaged'.

'As a result, the new concept leads to far more realistic findings concerning the technical quality of the car models than the previous reports. The DEKRA Faults Report 2008 offers the consumer significantly more practical and useful information and is therefore of real help to would-be purchasers', explains Clemens Klinke, Chairman of the Board of Management at DEKRA Automobil GmbH.

The new DEKRA Faults Report: a more realistic approach

The DEKRA Faults Report 2008 breaks new ground. To draw up the Faults Report 2008, DEKRA referred to a database of approximately 15 million inspections conducted over the past two years. A sufficient number of inspections had to have been recorded for a vehicle type for it to be considered in the evaluation in the first place. If a minimum of 1,000 inspected vehicles was not reached in a mileage group, no statement about the model was made in that particular mileage group. The DEKRA Faults Report 2008 profiles 150 models.

The most important new development is the evaluation of faults based on mileage classes. The faults revealed in inspections are no longer evaluated according to age, but to mileage classes. The reason for this shift of emphasis is that 'the technical condition of a vehicle depends far more on the mileage than on the vehicle age', explains Klinke. 'This mileage-based evaluation is thus far more useful to the used car purchaser who wants to find out detailed information about a particular model.'

The differentiation means that the DEKRA Faults Report avoids the hitherto unrealistic comparison of, for example, a low mileage small car with a premium segment car with high mileage. Consequently, the following subdivisions were chosen as a basis for the report:

  • Mini cars/small cars and compact class vehicles were evaluated in the mileage groups - 0 to 30,000 km, 30,000 to 60,000 km and 60,000 to 90,000 km. The winner in the mini car/ small car class up to 30,000 km was the Mitsubishi Colt with the BMW 1 series leading the field in the compact class. In the category up to 60.000 km, the Mazda 2 (mini cars) and the Skoda Oktavia (compact class) took top spots. The group up to 90.000 km was dominated by the Honda Jazz in the mini car/small car class and by the VW Golf V in the compact class.
  • Mid-sized cars, premium mid-sized and big cars, sports cars/cabriolets, offroaders and vans were placed into groups from 0 to 50,000 km, 50,000 to 100,000 km and 100,000 to 150,000 km. In the midsized group up to 50,000 km the Peugeot 407 took the honours. The Audi A6 won the premium midsized/large car class, the Mercedes SLK the sports car/cabriolet class, the Hyundai Tucson the offroader group and the Seat Altea the van class. The group up to 100,000 km was headed by the Toyota Avensis in the midsize class, by the Audi A8 in the premium midsize/large car class, the Audi A4 Cabrio in the sports car/cabriolet class, by the BMW X3 in the offroader class and the VW Touran in the van class. In the mileage group up to 150,000 km the Audi A4 (midsized car), the BMW 5 series (large midsize/premium segment), the Mazda MX-5 (sports car/cabriolet), the BMW X5 (offroader) and the VW Touran (vans) occupied the top spots.

The second change has been the move to a precise type evaluation. In contrast to all other reports, the DEKRA Faults Report, based on the extensive DEKRA database, now provides a precise type evaluation, for example, for the E-Class Type W211 and not W210. The advantage of this approach is that the reader obtains far more accurate and reliable information as current models and predecessor models are no longer treated as one. However, for a detailed evaluation and correct placement in the ranking it is essential that the data of at least 1,000 inspected vehicles in each mileage group is available.

The model comparison within the vehicle class also increases the usefulness of information. For the first time the report compares the fault figures for the respective model and not the average figure of all vehicles, but the average of the respective vehicle class. The benefit of this approach is that like is compared with like. This means that the faults figure for a vehicle class, such as small cars, is not influenced by the faults quota of other, non-comparable vehicle classes, such as offroaders or sports cars.

150 models profiled on the basis of relevant faults.

In addition to the overview of all faults found, the report takes into account only those faults that play a role in assessing the vehicle quality of the 150 models profiled. In this regard faults on wheels/tyres, impermissible alterations to the vehicle, expired exhaust analysis, damaged side mirrors or out-of-date first-aid kit are not listed because they say nothing about the quality of the vehicle and are unimportant for the used car purchaser. The relevant faults were summarised in five groups: (1) Chassis / steering, (2) Engine / environment, (3) Body / frame / interior, (4) Brake system as well as (5) Electrics / electronics / lights.

The most frequent faults located on brakes, chassis and steering

The most frequent faults detected in this DEKRA report were in the Electrics /electronics / lights category with 12.1 per cent for mini cars, small cars and compact class evaluated in 30,000 kilometre gradations, and 11.3 per cent for larger vehicles evaluated in 50,000 kilometre gradations. Second spot in the fault ranking was taken by brake systems (8.3 / 10.7 %) followed by engine / environment (6.8 / 5.5 %), chassis / steering (4.3 / 7.5 %) and body, frame, interior (1.5 / 1.7 %). The most common causes for complaint among the experts were worn brake linings and discs, defective chassis parts such as supporting ball joints and guide joints, stabilisers and tie rods, engine oil loss, damaged windscreens, defective lights and worn wiper blades.