Part III: 1960 – 2010
Technical inspection associations have been pioneers for new technologies since the first industrial companies were set up.
In 2009, TÜV SÜD continues this tradition and supports the market roll-out of electrically powered vehicles. While TÜV Hanse GmbH (part of the Group since 2004) develops a detailed inspection catalogue for electric vehicles, TÜV SÜD in Munich designs the world’s first dynamic crash test for cars equipped with lithium-ion batteries.
In 2010, TÜV SÜD performs the first general inspection of a fully electric car and processes the first EU-wide certification for an electric automobile. In 2009, the company sets an ambitious goal of becoming the world’s market leader in testing batteries for e-vehicles.
With the former Federal Minister of the Economy Michael Glos in attendance, TÜV SÜD completes the largest acquisition in the company’s history.
In March 2006, it acquires the Singapore-based PSB Group. Given PSB’s strong position in Southeast Asia, especially in the areas of management systems and product testing, the takeover is seen as a major milestone in expanding the business in Asia.
The following year, the foundation is laid for the future on the other side of Asia: Under the name of TÜVTÜRK, TÜV SÜD and its two regional partners begin to set up a network of 200 vehicle service centres in Turkey. The idea is to enable general inspections (based on the German model) of all of the country’s 12 million registered motor vehicles starting in 2009.
Reminding many car drivers of the hexagonal sticker on their vehicle, TÜV SÜD’s blue octagon had been in use since the end of the 1990s for medical products.
The emblem became the official company logo in 2001. Five years later, the octagon was given a three-dimensional look with the addition of a shadow.
The octagon was well-received around the world, too. Eight is considered a positive number in the West and a lucky number in China. Those who still have phones with alphanumeric keys will see that the letters “TUV” appear above the number “8.”
TÜV SÜD’s presence on the World Wide Web began in 1998: The Group website, tuev-sued.de, launched simultaneously with specialised virtual service centres.
Among other things, car owners were now able to sign up for general inspections and emissions testing to minimise waiting times. Seminars offered by the TÜV Academy (founded in 1986) could now be reserved online as well.
In a time when many companies used their websites as an enhanced business card, TÜV SÜD took advantage of the Internet’s interactive possibilities that dominate the digital realm today.
With 8,500 employees and 1.4 billion Deutschmarks in annual sales, the largest technical inspection association is formed in Germany.
On January 1, 1996, TÜV Bayern and TÜV Südwest joined to create TÜV Süddeutschland AG (called TÜV SÜD AG from 2005). TÜV Hessen became part of the new company based on a resolution at the members’ meeting in March of that year.
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Karl Eugen Becker, CEO of the newly founded stock corporation and key architect of the merger, wanted to continue expanding the company, especially overseas.
Our strategy is to become number one in safety-related services so that we can follow our customers as partners to wherever our advice provides them with competitive advantages.” Günter Häfner played a decisive role in creating the new organisation’s groundbreaking legal structure.
Product Service generated further development in overseas business. Parallel to the growth in Germany, the first Asian subsidiaries were established in Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan.
At the same time, subsidiaries were established in North America, with TÜV Product Service in California, Massachusetts and Oregon, and Emaco Product Service Inc. in San Diego.
In March 1990, former employees of East Germany’s Office for Technical Inspections re-established the “Sächsische Überwachungsverein” (Saxon inspection association), which had originally been founded in Chemnitz in 1878, under the name TÜV Chemnitz (later known as TÜV Sachsen).
The re-establishment was supported by TÜV Bayern, and both sides worked towards a merger, which took place in 1992. In 1990, the year of Germany’s reunification, TÜV Baden and TÜV Stuttgart went through the same process, with TÜV Südwest emerging from the merger of the two inspection associations – a reality long sought by businesses and policymakers.
In a memo drafted under the leadership of Wolfhart Hauser, TÜV Bayern proposed the idea of “worldwide approval” in 1988. The concept was met by scepticism, even within the company, but Hauser was not to be deterred.
He encouraged the German TÜV entities to jointly found an organisation that will be active outside of traditional monitoring fields in the private sector. Its intent was to provide international companies with a unique service so that they can market their products worldwide with just one single certification partner.
The concept was decisively promoted by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Karl Eugen Becker, who, since 1983, had headed and modernised TÜV Bayern with great success. This paved the way for the founding of TÜV Product Service GmbH, which went into operation in 1989 as a joint venture of TÜV Bayern, Hanover and Hessen.
After 80 years, TÜV Bayern left the association building on Kaiserstrasse in Munich’s Schwabing area and moved into a new headquarters on Westendstrasse, the location of the corporate head office of TÜV SÜD today. At the same time, a modern testing centre was inaugurated on Ridlerstrasse nearby.
The aim of the move was to convey a culture change in terms of enhanced customer support.
In 1979, the TÜV Baden, Bayern, Saarland and Stuttgart organisations decided to found a TÜV training academy in the south of Germany.
The centre opened its doors on January 1, 1980, and it was soon evident that standardised training and continuing education had many advantages.
The seminar participants mutually benefit from their respective experiences and the shared classes helped dispel regional biases.
A ski binding is a remarkably sophisticated but delicate product. Design errors or production defects can result in fatal accidents. However, how can users be provided with guidelines when reliable quality inspections require a measurement laboratory and in-depth knowledge in the field of sports medicine?
It was a question resourceful TÜV Bayern employees asked themselves, particularly as they had taken up the cause of advocating “consumer safety.” The Federal Ministry of Labour came up with the idea of a generally recognised seal for “certified safety” (Geprüfte Sicherheit – GS).
The concept is not new, but all previous attempts to establish a comprehensive certification seal failed due to a lack of agreement between various industries, associations, testing institutes and policy-makers.
This time, however, the initiative was successful: In the winter of 1977–78, the GS logo was placed on hundreds of thousands of skis in West German stores. Soon, the “TÜV stickers” for motor vehicles became a familiar sight to consumers.
While TÜV was publicly seen as providing vehicle inspections and expert consulting services for industrial plants, activities that took the burden off the government, TÜV still often remained invisible in the private sector.
Nevertheless, at the end of the 1960s, and for the first time, TÜV Bayern laid the groundwork for business models on an open, unrestricted market, which is how TÜV SÜD operates today.
In 1969, the association purchased Elektroberatung Bayern GmbH (EBB), which was created as a consulting agency for the electrification of Bavarian agriculture in 1926. With this acquisition, via a subsidiary, a German TÜV became part of the competitive market.
Even in the 1960s, there were reasons for expanding the business beyond Germany and Europe.
TÜV experts were called upon from abroad on a regular basis to assist with explaining technical defects, especially when the affected facilities were supplied by German companies.
In 1964, for example, TÜV Bayern experts travelled to South Africa to investigate an accident involving a cable car.
TÜV Baden experts regularly went to France to generate sample reports for vehicles that were intended for import to West Germany.