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Material mix strategies grow increasingly complex

Segment shifts, commodity pricing, electrification and even automation all impact the choice of vehicle materials, writes Megan Lampinen

Vehicle manufacturers are becoming increasingly creative with their material mix in the bid to reduce weight. Lower weight translates into improved fuel economy, particularly important in light of the growing popularity of SUVs and large pick-ups. It also means superior performance, resulting in faster acceleration and braking. For commercial customers, lighter trucks can open the door to higher payloads. Clearly, it’s top of mind for designers.

The question is which combination works best. Steel is facing growing competition from alternative materials, such as carbon fibre, aluminium and even plastic. For most it’s a balance between cost and performance….

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