When China's Chery Automobile Co. Ltd. began developing its A3CC sports coupe in 2006, it intended to use steel for all the car's body panels. Then it engaged with Sabic Innovative Plastics and those plans changed. The result was on display at Sabic's large booth at K 2010 a shiny, red, two-seater convertible sporting front fenders made of Sabic's Noryl GTX, a blend of polyamide and modified polyphenylene ether resins. Sabic said it is the first such application by a Chinese automaker.
But Chery didn't stop there. The soon-to-be-launched, hardtop convertible also features a Noryl GTX fuel-filler door; lightweight energy absorbers made from Sabic's Xenoy semi-crystalline polyester/ polycarbonate alloy in the front and rear bumper systems; and an undertray molded from its Stamax long-glass-filled polypropylene compound.
Sunny Zhu, A3CC project manager of second-passenger vehicle product development for Wuhu-based Chery, said through an interpreter in an Oct. 27 interview that Sabic urged the automaker to give Noryl GTX a try for the front fenders. Sabic said the resin offers:
* Less than half the weight of steel fenders (3 pounds vs. 6 pounds).
* Improved low-speed-impact durability.
* Production advantages, such as eliminating the need for a paint primer and the need for painting-related secondary operations. The plastic fenders can be painted on line along with the metal body-in-white.
Zhu cited the cost, performance and styling benefits of using resin for the fenders, which he said are injection molded by Tier 1 supplier Ningbo Tokai Minth Automotive Parts Co. Ltd. of Ningbo, China. A Chery subsidiary does captive molding for its parent firm, with its largest press being a 2,700-tonner, Zhu said at the Dusseldorf show but that unit is not molding parts for the new sports car.
Pittsfield, Mass.-based Sabic IP said that having the fuel-filler door made from Noryl GTX enables it to be painted on line, helping to ensure precise color matching.
Zhu said the A3CC's energy absorbers and front-bumper undertray help Chery to produce a bumper system that complies with global regulations for low-speed vehicle damageability.