Forget fuel cells. Plastics are where it's at for automotive innovations. The American Plastics Council (www.americanplasticscouncil.org) says the average North American car will have 142 kg of plastic by 2009, compared to 117 kg in 1999. Keep your eye out for: all-plastic radiators to accommodate lower and flatter front ends; integrated front ends where one plastic module will cover the first third of the vehicle; and snap-in interior instrument panels with molded-in electronics.
Fifty-six-year-old Pasquale Russo has been doing metalwork for more than 30 years in a tiny southern Italy village. Many craftsmen like him brought with them fabrication skills when they came from the Old World to America.
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