While the object shown here might bring some piece of modern sculpture to mind, it is actually a fastener for the seat covers in the new Mercedes B-Class.
Gary S. Vasilash
Editor-in-Chief, AutoBeat Group
Several plastic makers are now producing components and subsystems once considered the sole domain of steel and-yes-even aluminum. Thermoplastic can mean up to a 30 to 40% weight reduction over equivalent metal components in many under hood applications, but cost reductions have gained the most attention. That's right: plastic components being cost competitive with metal.
Chrysler Corp. is undertaking, in cooperation with a group of suppliers, a project to determine the feasibility of producing low-cost, thermoplastic vehicles for Third World markets. What they are learning may have big effects on the way conventional cars are produced everywhere.