The exterior component system of a car is, quite simply put, the design feature and language of the car. It not only provides for the vehicle’s external aesthetics but also has a critical functionality in terms of the passive safety it provides by forming a closure across the passenger cell through a number of fixed and cantilevered components. With the body-in-white (BIW) acting as a skeleton for the car, the exterior component system is analogous to the skin of the car. Weighing at up to 15% of the total weight of the car, the exterior component system also forms one of the major mass blocks, and considering the structural and torsional rigidity requirements of the component subsystems, it provides for a very interesting mix of materials to choose from.
This report covers the material choice and lightweighting initiatives across the exterior component system. The exterior component subsystems studied in this report include the doors, various types of automotive glazing, hoods, tailgates, front and rear bumpers, and car roofs including a discussion on sunroofs. The report considers and compares the material choice vis-à-vis the functional requirements from the component subsystems. The report also analyzes the choices and reasons for a few case-based original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and suppliers in terms of their components and lightweighting initiatives.
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