DETROIT -- As you know, there's a direct relationship between design and what materials are available to build the component.
Designers are finding that composite materials give them more flexibility in certain areas because they can integrate several functions into one unit. For example, the new Mini Cooper features a front-end module that houses the radiator fan and several other parts. It is made from Owens Corning composite material called StaMax P. The same material is used in the integrated door module that appears on current Ford Fiesta models sold in Europe.
Owens Corning is not the only automotive supplier using composite materials. Others include BASF, Johnson Controls Inc., DuPont and Dow Automotive.