Continental Structural Plastics’ New Lightweight Materials Trims 2016 Corvette

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Auburn Hills-based auto supplier Continental Structural Plastics today announced a new advanced lightweight composite material is now in production for the 2016 Chevrolet Corvette, resulting in a 20-pound lighter Stingray Coupe model.

“In materials engineering, shaving a single pound per car is a significant accomplishment, so saving 20 pounds per car is monumental,” says Tadge Juechter, chief engineer for Corvette.

Frank Macher, chairman and CEO of Continental Structural Plastics, says the company’s patented-technology results in a lighter density material and will be used in the Corvette’s doors, decklids, quarter panels, and fenders, totaling 21 body panel assemblies. He says several global OEMs are running trials with the new material.

“We have been working closely with GM to launch this patented, weight-saving technology on the iconic Corvette,” says Frank Macher, chairman and CEO of Continental Structural Plastics. “(We achieved) this conversion with no changes in material thickness or tooling while maintaining the superior surface finish required for this premium vehicle.”

The material has paint and gloss qualities comparable to metals, including aluminum and passes all OEM paint tests and offers reduced costs at all volumes. Macher says for production volumes under 150,000, tooling costs for composites can be as much as 50 to 70 percent less than those for stamping steel or aluminum.

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