All assembled car parts undergo real torture: the doors get closed 30,000 times, seat cushions and backrests get brushed 20,000 times and each control button gets pressed 5,000 times. These are some examples of the most severe tests that a car has to pass before its future owner takes possession. Most of these tests are carried out when the model is still a prototype. Others are performed on all production cars, immediately before they leave the factory. The goal is to guarantee the quality and reliability of the parts as well as of the car as a whole.
Wheels, shock absorbers, seats and doors undergo extreme testing before a car is released on the market.
Wheels that circle the globe four times: Around fifty engineers test the prototypes by driving more than 1,200,000 kilometres a year over extreme terrain, the equivalent of driving around the world four times. All the wheel parts have to resist the icy conditions of Russian roads as well as the scorching 50 degree heat of the Moroccan desert.
3,000 km of gravel impacts: Hundreds of thousands of rock fragments strike the undercarriage of a car, the wheel arches or the bumpers during the development stage of a vehicle. The goal is to see how these parts withstand 3,000 kilometres of driving on uneven terrain.
20,000 rubbing motions per seat: Getting in and out of the car 20,000 times in a row. These actions are reproduced by a machine which simulates the driver and passengers sitting on and rubbing against the fabric on the seat cushions and backrests. In addition, the seat backs are folded up to 20,000 times on each car model to check their durability.
Up to 5,000 presses per button: Each button, dial and control mechanism has to convey a sensation of quality and precision to the touch. For this reason, the buttons on the navigator screen, radio and air conditioning selector are pressed up to 5,000 times. The Haptics department, which studies all interactions involving touch, performs these tests three years before vehicles are launched.
Closing doors 30,000 times per year: The sound made by the doors closing makes a lasting impression on a new car buyer. For this reason, 30,000 closing operations are performed to ensure that they make a soft click on every model, without rattling, conveying the sensation that they are tightly sealed.
2,500 litres of monsoon rain: Another test that the more than 2,200 vehicles that come off the assembly line every day are put through is to withstand a 2,500 litre downpour of water, which is recycled every time, for ten minutes. Each car will pass this test when it is verified that the passenger compartment is thoroughly watertight.
2 million kilometres of road testing: The goal of this test is to check the correct operation of the brake system and verify that it makes no annoying noises. This is the final test before the cars are delivered to the dealerships. The drivers who pose the final challenge to the cars cover a total of 2 million kilometres every year on a circuit with uneven surfaces and slopes, cobblestones and six different types of pavement.