Auto composites race to the road

DN Staff

April 20, 1998

1 Min Read
Auto composites race to the road

Detroit--When it comes to composites, check out the 1998 model cars and trucks. You will find more than 45 new sheet molding composite (SMC) components on these vehicles. That's a 64% in-crease since 1993.

The SMC Automotive Alliance (SMCAA) revealed these figures at this year's SAE International Congress and Exposition. The statistics also show that SMC poundage has increased from 156 to 237 million lbs during the same five-year period

"Much of the growth is because of the continued popularity of SMC for body panels, especially on trucks, and the proliferation of the composite for high-volume structural and drivetrain components," says Don Kossak, SMCAA's chairman, and director of exterior sales at Cambridge Industries.

Some SMC introductions found in 1998 cars and trucks:

- Hood, decklid, and fenders for the Lincoln Continental, cutting tooling costs in half for these components.

- Hood on the Lincoln Navigator sport utility, joining more than 25 hoods made from SMC on current production vehicles.

- Decklid and tonneau cover on the restyled Chevrolet Corvette convertible, joining other "Vette" body components made from SMC since 1972.

- Hood, fenders, grille, and accent bar on Freightliner HN 177 and H 190 heavy-duty trucks, giving the vehicles improved aerodynamic sty-ling, less weight, and lower-cost tooling.

- Fuel tank heat shields on the Ford Contour, Windstar, and F-250 light truck, Mercury Mystique, Lincoln Navigator and Continental, and Jaguar.

Currently, SMC resides in more than 130 domestic and import passenger cars and trucks made by 28 manufacturers. In 1998, 10 million vehicles will sport SMC components.

SMCAA, part of the Society of the Plastics Industry's Composites Institute, includes 26 molders and composite materials suppliers.

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