Tailored blank welding has been a rapidly growing segment of the automotive industry over the last five years. It allows to choose the optimal thickness of the sheets for different zones taking into account different mechanical stresses, vehicle safety reinforcement. Through the elimination of extra reinforcement parts, the use of tailored blanks allows to produce lighter car bodies and to simplify the production cycle. As more laser welding systems are being installed in industry, in order to increase the productivity and maintain constant quality of the products, the demand for the development of process monitoring systems increases. In this paper a monitoring system, based on the measurement of the radiation from the plasma plume during the CO2 tailored blanks laser welding, is presented. Using an appropriate combination of optical components, detectors and a special software, a complete apparatus has been developed. The signals were found to be correlated to weld quality parameters including the defects such as holes, overlapping and open butts.