Tuesday, 18 October 2011

M&M to build slim SUV, Maruti for one gram weight reduction in components



Mahindra & Mahindra wants to build an SUV that weighs less than a tonne, Maruti has saved Rs 147 crore by working on one-gram weight reductions on components... all because customers want lighter cars that drink less fuel and cause less pollution.

Estimates by Corus Steel and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan suggest that cars now weigh about 1,500 kg, compared to 750 kg in the seventies. Heavier cars need more power to drive them. That means more fuel, a resource becoming more expensive by the day. And more fuel means more emission, adding plenty to the daily degradation of environment. Heavier cars also need more metal, the cost of which has been climbing steeply. Car makers are now facing a new challenge.

New lightweight, but high strength, materials like carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) are replacing steel. CFRP is 50% lighter than steel and stronger. It also costs more. But customers want lighter, faster, cleaner and cheaper cars. It's a new balance all car makers are learning. Here's what two Indian and two global manufacturers are doing.

Meanwhile, we also learnt few days before that VW and BMW has shown their interest in buying stake in SGL, which is a leading manufacturer of Automotive components made from CFRP- Carbon-fiber reinforced plastic.

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