Mixed-material vehicles to dominate: expert

Oct 08, 2013 | 06:15 PM | Michael Cowden

Tags  Center for Automotive Research, Jay Baron, Aluminum Association, automotive, cars, market share, steel, high-strength steel aluminum

FARMINGTON, Pa. — While aluminum may be making inroads on steel in the automotive sector, the vehicle of the future will be a mix of materials rather than one dominated by either steel or aluminum, according to one auto industry expert.

A mixed-material vehicle will probably sport very-high-strength steels around its "safety cage," aluminum in the chassis and exterior panels, and composites in brackets and engine mounts, said Jay Baron, president and chief executive officer of the Center for Automotive Research, Ann Arbor, Mich. Joining technologies will become much more complex as a result, he said.

"The mixed-material vehicle is the goal and seems to be the trend," Baron said at the Aluminum Association’s annual meeting in Farmington, Pa. But that’s not a message a "defiant" steel industry wants to hear, he said. "Steel says we can do it at zero cost. ... And we really don’t need to convert anything."....

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