The Global Importance of ACEA 2021

Apr 30, 2021

Topics: Passenger Cars

It is difficult to think of many industries that are not impacted by some level of globalization. This is especially true for the automotive industry, with millions of vehicles in use far from where they were designed.

The European Union (EU) is the second largest regional manufacturer of passenger vehicles, producing one out of every four cars worldwide. Even though many vehicles are destined for sale within the EU, one third are exported to other markets across the world including the United States, China, Japan, South Korea and Australia to name a few.

While millions of EU-manufactured vehicles are located in different countries and different climates across the globe, one thing that remains constant is the engine lubricant requirement.

Since their introduction in 1996, the ACEA Oil Sequences have prescribed the minimum quality level of service-fill oils demanded by the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) members for use in their vehicles; wherever in the world they may be located.

April 2021 saw a major upgrade with the release of ACEA 2021 Light Duty Oil Sequences, incorporating performance changes required by the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) together with the replacement of key tests from ACEA 2016.

The ACEA 2021 upgrade takes into account key trends happening in the vehicle parc and introduces two categories (ACEA A7/B7 and ACEA C6) for high-performance engines, with important new tests including Low Speed Pre-Ignition (LSPI), chain wear and turbocharger deposits. ACEA 2021 also replaces four old tests with more up-to-date engine tests to better reflect the technologies and hardware being used in today’s vehicle parc across the world.  

What does ACEA 2021 mean in practice for different parts of the world, such as China, Australia and North America?

  • In China, European vehicle OEMs represent more than 20% of the passenger car market, meaning a large proportion of the market requires ACEA performance level engine lubricants. With the implementation of China 6a (effective January 2021) and China 6b (July 2023), China is acknowledged as having one of the most stringent emission standards in the world. The ACEA 2021 Oil Sequences play an important part in enabling a successful implementation of China 6; delivering lubricants that effectively reduce engine wear, prevent LSPI, reduce ash build-up and avoid blockage of the gasoline particulate filter (GPF) and diesel particulate filter (DPF) systems.
  • In Australia, the passenger vehicle parc with diesel applications continues to grow, especially in the Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) sector. With the significant presence of European OEMs, the ACEA Oil Sequences are important to ensure the lubricant delivers the latest levels of performance and durability demanded by the ACEA members for their vehicles.
  • In North America, while the International Lubricant Standardization and Approval Committee (ILSAC) GF categories meet the needs of North American OEM engine technologies, they do not fully address the durability requirements of the European OEMs. Lubricants meeting the ACEA Oil Sequences help bridge this gap, delivering the minimum performance levels demanded by the OEM for their engines and aftertreatment systems.

For the lubricant marketer, ACEA 2021 Light Duty claims are possible from the 1st May 2021. New ACEA 2016 claims can continue to be made until 1st May 2023, and all claims after this date must conform to ACEA 2021.

The Heavy Duty Oil Sequence document is anticipated for release during 2022.

Our View

With millions of EU passenger cars being exported each year, the global recognition and relevance of the ACEA Oil Sequences has never been higher.

The ACEA 2021 Light Duty Engine Oil Sequences play a very important part in the ongoing drive to improvements in lubricant performance, and provide a new baseline for the next generation of OEM specifications. Surpassing, rather than just meeting, the rigorous performance demands of the ACEA 2021 upgrade enables oil marketers to increase their brand value by delivering higher-performing engine lubricants that provide additional protection and performance benefits to light duty vehicles around the world.

For more information on the ACEA 2021 upgrade for light-duty engines, please contact your Lubrizol representative.