For nearly ten years Volkswagen has been applying scanning laser vibrometry for analyzing vibrations and structure-born noise of auto parts, like engines, auxiliaries, gearboxes, and the whole body as well. Compared with holographic interferometry the scanning vibrometry offers the great advantage of measuring operation mode shapes. Operating modes or 'real motions' are unharmonic motions, consisting of more than one frequency component. By applying an FFT- algorithm it is possible to analyze the frequency spectrum of the vibrating structure. This measurement of multiple mode shapes is obtained by only one scanning process, a very time saving procedure. In this paper we present (1) applications of this technique in automotive development, (2) a detailed description of the measurement procedure, (3) a discussion of advantages and disadvantages, and a (4) comparison of specific features of commercially available vibrometers and our own prototype, called SOVAS.© (1994) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.