Magna’s Innovative Concept
To be a first-rate supplier nowadays doesn’t simply mean making parts, components or systems to spec. You’ve got to go above and beyond to prove not only your competency, but your creativity and competitive advantage, as well.
Case in point: Magna International, which has developed a concept vehicle that it is displaying at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, the MILA Blue.
This is the seventh MILA that the supplier of products (body, chassis, interior, seating, powertrain, electronics, etc.), engineering services, and contract manufacturing has produced. “MILA” is an acronym for “Magna Innovative Lightweight Automobile.”
The innovation derives largely from both the hybrid powertrain and the overall vehicular structure. It uses compressed natural gas for fuel. It is a city car (A-segment), and it has been determined that because the vehicle is comparatively light—an estimated 300 kg lighter than a conventional A-segment vehicle—it can motor along in stop-and-go traffic at up to 39 km/h using electric power.
The four-seat vehicle has a multi-material construction, including aluminum, magnesium and composites. Instead of having plastic interior trim covering up unsightly surfaces, the structural components are designed so that they are visible and appealing.
As European automakers look for ways to reduce CO2 emissions in order to comply with regulations that go into effect in 2021 (up until last week, they were to go into effect in 2020) calling for no more than 95 g CO2/km, the MILA Blue produces <49 g/km.
That’s an innovative supplier and then some.
While you are probably familiar with origami, the classic art of paper folding that results in things like birds that flap their wings when you pull the tail, or plot devices in one of the Blade Runner films.
The only back-seat driver in designing automotive seats and trim covers is PLM. That’s a good thing.
Plenty of interior components are injection molded. But some companies—such as VW—are using a process for trim pieces that both mold a component and cover it in fabric in a single molding process. And it is coming to the U.S. in the not-too-distant future.