What is the IMDS?

The International Material Database System (IMDS) is a web-based tool to archive all the materials used to manufacture an automobile. The IMDS exists for Tier I–IV suppliers to automotive OEMs and their subsidiaries and suppliers. Submitting Material Data Sheets (MDSs) for each component to the IMDS is now a requirement along with supplying the product or part.

IMDS History

In the 1990s, legislative bodies within the European Union sought to recycle automobiles instead of junking them. To move this process forward, they had to somehow keep track of the more than 10,000 components that make up every car. So they worked with industry representatives to develop the IMDS.

Established in 2000, the IMDS originated as a joint effort between eight European vehicle manufacturers. Today, more than 20 automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) participate with the European Union’s End-of-Life Vehicle (ELV) directive. OEMs collect data on all automotive parts regardless where the automobile is ultimately sold.

Purpose of the IMDS

The IMDS provides a common system for archiving and maintaining a database of materials used in vehicles. The system serves to ensure that OEMs and their suppliers are in compliance with international and national standards. In the future, the database will facilitate the recycling of scrapped vehicles.

The IMDS has quickly gained acceptance with the growing demand for recycling. All vehicle components will be fed back into the substance recovery cycle. In this way, the IMDS plays a significant role in protecting the environment.


More and more automotive OEMs have accepted the ELV directive and now require IMDS compliance. These OEMs now include: BMW, Chrysler, Daimler, Fiat, Ford, Fuji Heavy Industries, General Motors, Hyundai, Isuzu, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, Renault, Shanghai GM, Ssangyong, Suzuki, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo.

Reporting Responsibility

IMDS compliance is a well-established condition of supply within the automotive sector. It’s also a mandatory part of the PPAP process. Tier I suppliers are now responsible for submitting the component data for their parts into the IMDS system. They often delegate this responsibility to their Tier II–IV suppliers. This means the cost for submitting Material Data Sheets has been pushed down to smaller and smaller companies.

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