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SOUTHFIELD, Mich., Feb. 14, 2011 – As the U.S. automakers begin to adopt the ISO primary wire specification for their new products, USCAR’s Electrical Wiring Component Applications Partnership (EWCAP) is helping the supplier base requalify its U.S. market components to meet the new wire specifications.

The U.S. automakers, Chrysler Group LLC, Ford Motor Company and General Motors Company, adopted the new wire standard to further improve economies of scale and to better integrate components across increasingly global product offerings. The automakers have recently begun specifying ISO (International Organization for Standardization) metric wire, based on ISO-6722, on all new products under development. Existing vehicle platforms will continue to use the AWG (American Wire Gauge) wire based on SAE standard J1128 until the end of each platform run.

EWCAP is working to support the U.S. auto industry by narrowing down the numerous variations and options of ISO metric wire specifications to a more manageable range of wire types that will streamline the requalification process for component and wire manufacturers.

“The existing ISO specifications allow for more wire constructions/strand configurations than typically used in North America,” said Don Price, Ford representative to EWCAP and technical expert for connectors and components. “Our goal is to narrow the agreed-upon specifications down to a much more reasonable number for our suppliers to use.”

The end result, he says, is to reduce the number of wire constructions. The benefits for automakers and suppliers will be predictability, reliability and cost benefits.

“Automakers will be able to get the same wire regardless of the vendor; and vendors will benefit because they won’t have to make a different wire for every different customer in different regions,” Price said.

The changes in the wire characteristics will require suppliers to modify existing and future electrical interface designs to properly match the ISO wire connections.

Wire specifications include the physical size of the conductor, insulation and stranding, in addition to the performance characteristics of wire. As with many English to Metric conversions, there are few equal comparisons between the SAE and ISO specifications, and EWCAP is helping translate the new wire specs.

According to Price, there are a number of issues suppliers need to address carefully in order to successfully transition to the new ISO specification, including: sealing, fuse protection, abrasion/durability and processing, which includes stripping and crimping.

“We are working to get the word out to suppliers to help them better understand the changes and to ensure they do not make costly mistakes,” he said.

Suppliers can download the EWCAP ISO Wire Guide for more information.

Two committees of OEMs and suppliers have begun meeting to finalize the U.S. specifications based on the ISO specs which are expected to be completed and submitted to SAE for publication in the coming year.


Founded in 1992, USCAR is the collaborative automotive technology organization for Chrysler Group LLC, Ford Motor Company and General Motors Company. The goal of USCAR is to further strengthen the technology base of the domestic auto industry through cooperative research and development. For more information, visit USCAR’s Web site at www.uscar.org

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Click here to download a Word copy of this press release.

Click here to download a PDF copy of the EWCAP ISO Wire Guidelines.