PARIS - French car parts and s group Cie. Omnium SA is developing a range of new component systems, including front ends split into quarter modules, tailgate modules and roof systems.
Omnium already has previewed some of its new ideas with its Oscar - for Omnium System Car - concept, based on a Renault Scenic platform. The front end of the car is built around quarter modules, which include headlamp housing, air filter, air duct, mud guard and heat exchanger.
The quarter-module concept offers more styling flexibility than traditional solutions, and can reduce weight by up to 30 percent while improving impact resistance, says Omnium. It can also cut repair costs.
New approaches to module development can offer more opportunities for product differentiation, said Jean-Louis Vaysse, Omnium's corporate research and innovation director.
Omnium also built an engine-bay module into its Oscar concept.
This pulls together the under-hood functions requiring frequent access -such as windshield washer, cooling fluid, brake fluid, fuse box and battery - into one compartment.
Engine-bay modules also will allow new approaches to the construction of the rest of the hood area, he added.
However, the Oscar project excluded one of the fastest growing exterior modules: rear-closure, or tailgate, modules.
Vaysse said there is growing customer interest in tailgate modules. Tailgate modules are less complex than front-end modules, and the architecture of the car does not have to be changed to introduce them.
In this area Omnium is working together with thermoset specialist Inoplast through a joint venture, Ino Omnium, to develop modules for Renault, PSA/Peugeot-Citroen and General Motors.
Omnium is also exploring the possibility of roof modules.
Since the $457 million sale of its interiors business to Visteon last June, Omnium has concentrated on fuel tanks and exterior modules.