Manufacturers like Audi have a reputation to uphold with their customers and fans. Vehicle quality makes or breaks the consumer trust automakers work so diligently to earn. It’s no surprise Audi Quality Assurance conducts “INKA” sessions, rigorous testes that pour on twelve years of use in just 19 weeks.
In fact, Audi recently performed their 100th INKA on an A4. The Ingolstadt corrosion and aging test is one of the toughest assessments a vehicle can undergo at Audi.
INKA testing is a gauge to determine things like corrosion resistance and overall durability. As of INKA test 100, Audi Quality Assurance has logged 322,500 testing hours, covered more than 621,00 miles, and endured 2,800 mud and 1,900 salt baths. Rigorous methods like this are vital for Audi.
“The INKA test is an essential tool for assessing the quality of our models and for further optimizing our production methods,” said Sylvia Droll, Head of Materials Engineering, Audi AG.
The first three parts of INKA testing expose the car to extreme heat and humidity. During the first stage, a salty mist covers the vehicle inside a climate chamber set at 95 degrees Fahrenheit. From there, the dial is turned up to 122 degrees Fahrenheit with 100 percent humidity. 80 halogen metal vapor lamps, each with an output of 1,200 watts, then heat the body to 194 degrees Fahrenheit.
During these three stages of INKA testing, Audi Quality Assurance monitors the interior color and other materials. If the colors resist fading and the materials don’t become brittle, half the batter is won.
However, it’s not over.
The fourth INKA phase creates extreme winter conditions at minus 31 degrees Fahrenheit. A four-post hydropulse machine is then activated, tossing the car around. This tests the torsional strength and mimics the stress the vehicle will endure on rough, unforgiving roads. Finally, in stage five, drivers run prepared routes on Audi’s testing grounds, with trips through saltwater and mud.
Miles & Memories
Each model endures nearly 7,500 miles of testing all to be torn apart by Audi’s quality inspectors. Audi Quality Assurance has utilized INKA testing since 2002, although the automaker’s Technical Development arm has used the method for 40 years.
Audi’s ultimate goal is a memorable vehicle.
“Audi stands for superior build quality, high-quality material appearance and high reliability – even many years after a car is first registered,” Droll said.
*Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan.