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Chinese automakers work toward innovative interiors

By: Nina Ying Sun

May 23, 2012

SHANGHAI (May 23, 2:30 p.m. ET) — China’s automakers are driving innovation in the pursuit of an optimal balance of vehicle performance, weight-reduction and cost savings, speakers said at the China Plastics in Automotive 2012 Summit.

In some ways, the Chinese OEMs are ahead of their Western counterparts. 

Pour said plastics account for about 10 percent of a car’s mass, and 75 percent of the interior mass, therefore offering “considerable opportunities” to reduce interior weight. The combination of thinning wall stock, resin additives and composites can achieve weight reductions in various components of 5 percent to 50 percent.

“[Companies] spend a million dollars to reduce one pound of weight,” added Delphi’s Yang, who discussed weight reduction benefits from electrical/electronic design, including the “minimization” trend.

Julia Zou, Johnson Controls Inc.’s senior manger for business development, noted that companies are pushing for less weight with increased function. While complete substitution of existing material with plastic does not necessarily provide the optimum solution, the best synergy is achieved when plastic application is combined cleverly with design solutions, she said.

“Plastic combined with complimentary materials can yield highly effective weight-saving solution and functional benefits,” she said.