Plastics assist designers with Chrysler 200 interior

By Rhoda Miel
News Editor

Published: January 13, 2014 5:15 pm ET
Updated: January 14, 2014 4:52 pm ET

Image By: Chrysler Group LLC Chrysler has replaced the standard shift lever to a rotary dial for the 200. That freed up space in the center console for more storage, as well as an area to pass through long objects from the back to the front of the car.

Related to this story

Topics Automotive, Materials, Design

DETROIT — Chrysler Group LLC’s 2015 200 sedan is intended to be a flagship for the company, showing what is capable in engineering and manufacturing.

That also holds true for its interior, said Klaus Busse head of interior design for Chrysler, noting that it an area where the company is using new developments in production alongside new ideas in design.

“Look at the way we used wood this time,” Busse said during an interview following the 200’s introduction Jan. 13 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Busse pointed to the curving shape of the wood trim surrounding the instrument cluster.

“It used to be that we could only use wood in simple shapes. This is one complex, free flowing design.”

That design is capable, he said, because of improvements in production and engineering.

Interior suppliers have been developing ways to use natural products — including a thin veneer of wood — as an aesthetic covering which is married to the plastic substrate.

Chrysler’s adoption of it in the 200 allows it to echo what Busse called the “American design language” of allowing materials to show their true face — like the curved plywood in an Eames chair or the aluminum skin of an Airstream trailer.

“But this is very difficult to do,” he said.

For the past few car development cycles, Chrysler has co-located both designers and engineers within the same team, so they can combine their ideas on new projects as quickly and simply as possible

“What that means is that when we having some complication come up, it’s very easy for us to get management together and say: ‘Let’s compare notes here. Let’s see what we can do.”

During the previous model for the 200, Chrysler’s designers and engineers — along with key supplier Faurecia SA — won the 2011 Vehicle Engineering Team Award from the Society of Plastics Engineers for their cooperative work.

The co-location for the 200 and the Dodge Avenger allowed the teams to develop the interiors within 12 months, which is a sprint for the auto industry.

“The decision-making process was greatly sped up,” said Jay Hutchins, director of marketing and product planning for Faurecia North America.

For the 2015 model year of the 200, the combination of engineering and design came to the fore not only for the trim, but within interior packaging.

Chrysler has replaced the standard shift lever to a rotary dial for the 200. That freed up space in the center console for more storage, as well as an area to pass through long objects from the back to the front of the car.

With that space, the materials engineers, design team and suppliers combined ideas for a space that feels far more solid than the storage in the previous models. Busse said the team wanted it to feel as solid as furniture, with firm closures.

Structural plastics along with key soft-touch panels and trim created an expanded space.

“With every car, they always ask you, ‘What did you have to compromise on?’ With this, we didn’t have to fight for anything,” Busse said. “We could share the vision of this car and spend our time on executing our vision, and not fighting.

“At the end of the day, the key is a partnership of engineering and design.”


Comments

Plastics assist designers with Chrysler 200 interior

By Rhoda Miel
News Editor

Published: January 13, 2014 5:15 pm ET
Updated: January 14, 2014 4:52 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Integrated plastic/metal injection molding helps cars trim weight

October 2, 2014 11:17 am ET

Although it consumes a scant 9 percent of European plastics production, the auto industry is driving plastics research in the region, said Mathias...    More

Image

GM's long-term goals look to China, Cadillac, better supplier relations

October 2, 2014 10:02 am ET

General Motors Co.'s China plan includes $14 billion in investments by its joint ventures to open five new auto assembly plants by 2018, with a goal...    More

Image

Global Plastics Summit puts PE prices in the spotlight

October 1, 2014 3:17 pm ET

Product manufacturers may start to shift away from polyethylene because of high prices, according to two major plastics processors.    More

Image

Nucleation offers solution to shrinkage in HDPE closures

October 1, 2014 1:57 pm ET

For caps producers, nucleation can provide a practical solution to eliminate shrinkage variations in high density polyethylene beverage closures....    More

Image

Dow loses appeal in price fixing case

October 1, 2014 11:10 am ET

The Reuters press agency reports that a federal appeals court in Denver has rejected Dow Chemical Co.'s attempt to overturn a $1.06 billion fine impos...    More

Market Reports

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 million dollar plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our industry analysis highlights macro industry trends and micro trends faced by companies that do business in Mexico. The report also provides key industry statistics and forecasts to anticipate future industry expansion.

Learn more

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Injection Molders Market Report & Ranking 2014

This special package contains our 132-page 2014 Market Report on the Injection Molding segment and our exclusive 2014 RANKINGS database of 500+ Injection Molders for a discounted package price.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events