DETROIT - General Motors is honing in on body seals as it looks to improve the appearance of its vehicles.
"You'll see major improvements in aesthetics over the next few years," says Imad Bazzi, an engineering consultant for closure systems weatherstripping at GM.
In the 1980s and early 1990s, the cuts of seals weren't clean and precise. "It was just a seal," Bazzi says. "Does it need to look good? No one thought so at the time."
GM began concentrating on aesthetics two years ago, focusing initially on the sheet metal of its vehicles. Now, GM is pushing its suppliers for better-looking vehicle sealing, Bazzi says.
Seal makers have made major improvements in sealing systems, Bazzi says. Now GM wants them to think of aesthetics as a new performance standard, similar to wind noise and sealing ability.
"Weatherstrips will sell cars," he says.
Bazzi says that internally, GM plans to include seals earlier in the design stage instead of designing the vehicle and then "plugging the hole."
Sherri Begin is a staff reporter for Rubber & Plastics News, a sister publication of Automotive News.