DETROIT - Two new Dodge Stratus sedans were stripped of hundreds of parts.
The culprits, however, were not thieves.
DaimlerChrysler and 26 suppliers replaced the parts with environmentally friendly parts in a demonstration project on recycling.
About 75 percent of a vehicle's total weight is recycled today. DaimlerChrysler is analyzing the remaining 25 percent. It wants its vehicles to be 85 percent recyclable by 2005 and 95 percent recyclable by 2015.
The two 'green' Stratus cars will be unveiled on Earth Day -Thursday, April 22 - at the DaimlerChrysler Technology Center in Auburn Hills, Mich.
The replacement parts were made of recycled materials and materials that are easier and less costly to recycle. In some cases, plastic parts were replaced with plastic parts. But the replacement plastic parts are easier to recycle.
A typical vehicle today will contain up to 35 groups of plastics, said Gerald Winslow, DaimlerChrysler's car program manager for the demonstration project.
'Maybe it's time we take a look to see if there is a need to have so many families of plastics,' he said. DaimlerChrysler and the suppliers invested $3 million in this project.
Two additional Stratus sedans have been fitted with replacement parts and will undergo durability testing, Winslow said. About 500 parts and 31 major systems were replaced on the cars.
For example, TRW, one of the participating suppliers, replaced the passenger airbag housing with a molded nylon part. The current Stratus uses a three-piece stamped-steel housing, said Jeff Aird, TRW director for customer development, occupant restraint systems.
The replacement nylon airbag housing weighs less, and 25 percent of its content is recycled nylon, he said.
Said Aird: 'This is something that can be applied now.'