U.S.-Built Toyota Corolla to Get Aluminum Hood
Toyota Motor Corp. plans to equip North American-made Corolla sedans with aluminum hoods beginning in late 2017, according to Automotive News, which cites an unnamed source.
The high-volume project will probably source the aluminum sheet it needs from a joint venture between affiliate Toyota Tsusho Corp. and Kobe Steel. That partnership plans to install capacity in the southeastern U.S. to make 100,000 tons of aluminum sheet per year.
AN notes that Toyota already uses aluminum in hood and deck lids of several models produced in Japan, including most Lexus models, the Prius hybrid and the Scion FR-S sports car.
Toyota's first North American production of external aluminum body panels will begin next year when the 2016 model Lexus RX 350 crossover goes into production in Cambridge, Ont., according to the newspaper's source.
Toyota declines to comment on its North American plans for the Corolla but confirms it intends to extend its use of aluminum body panels across multiple models to help cut vehicle weight. The company says it also will expand its use of "mix metals" and plastics for the same purpose.
A look at the 7 Series Carbon Core.
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Remember those Saturn commercials showing shopping carts bouncing harmlessly off of plastic body panels? Good idea, right? But apparently the approach never really caught on. Now the question is: will it ever?