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The North American Auto Industry is Going Metric!

February 27, 2014

Over the past several years, two trends have occurred in the automotive market, which have prompted changes to wiring specifications:

  • More European auto manufacturers have moved into North America, bringing with them their own specification, ISO 6722
  • The Big 3, Chrysler, GM, and Ford, are seeking ways to standardize specifications, components and platforms at all production plants globally, in order to achieve economies of scale. This includes moving to metric wire specifications similar to ISO 6722, which has been around for over 20 years and specifies the dimensions, test methods and requirements for single-core 60-volt wire and cable intended for use in road vehicle applications.

The Big 3's change to the new specification began in 2011 and by model year 2013, most new vehicle platforms were using metric automotive wire. As existing platforms are phased out and new platforms are developed, the industry’s transition to metric wire is expected to be complete within the decade.

Chrysler, GM, and Ford have each taken the traditional ISO 6722 specification and added their unique requirements, specifically around testing and naming convention. While these products use metric conductors (e.g. 0.75mm2), the insulation materials (PVC, XLP, Teflon) remain the same as SAE J1128 products (e.g. TXL). Beyond the metric vs. AWG conductor size, there are other differences between ISO and SAE, including the wall thickness and strand construction. These differences actually result in a smaller cross-sectional area than SAE J1128, providing space and weight savings in wire harnesses. However, the ISO specification allows both symmetrical (e.g. 19 strand) or asymmetrical (e.g. 26 strand) stranding. Yet USCAR, the umbrella research organization of Chrysler, GM, and Ford, has agreed to require symmetrical stranding, because the cut/strip/terminate processing is better and it's easier to achieve crimping repeatability.

On-road truck and buses and off-road vehicle manufacturers have not yet made the transition toward ISO-type specifications, but are watching the passenger vehicle market carefully and doing some early-stage prototyping. In order to accommodate the various requirements in the transportation market, IEWC provides both SAE J1128 and ISO products (Chrysler MS-12441, GM GMW15626, Ford ES-AU5T-1A348-AA). Extensive inventory of such products and our Customer Automated Replenishment System (CARS®) allow us to help you manage ebbs and flows in your demand. We also have a full suite of value-added services, including striping, twisting and drum packing, to meet the platform or project requirements. As the global automotive industry continues to evolve, IEWC will continue to provide numerous solutions to both automotive assembly houses and OEMs!

To learn more IEWC's metric automotive offerings, contact your sales representative or call 1-800-344-2323.

IEWC ISO Automotive Wire - PDF (303KB)

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