DETROIT -- General Motors' two new roadsters contain some vital composites under their metal skin.
Both the Pontiac Solstice, which went on sale in 2005, and the Saturn Sky, which goes on sale in late spring or summer of this year, boast eye-catching curves to boost consumers' notions of what the automaker can do with design.
And both cars also rely on a fiberglass trunk-tub structure that makes up much of the rear of the vehicle, replacing earlier prototype concepts that used a three-part metal structure.
The resulting part provides a 30 percent reduction in tooling costs and a 30 percent reduction in weight compared with the metal proposal, said Keith Bihary, automotive sales manager for Molded Fiber Glass Cos. of Ashtabula, Ohio. Bihary was interviewed last month by Plastics News, which, like Automotive News, is published by Crain Communications Inc.
The tub provides a small trunk as well as storage space for the convertible top.
The company began making the Solstice tub nearly a year ago. Molded Fiber Glass can fine-tune the structure for any requirements GM has, Bihary said.
Molded Fiber Glass now is producing tools for a similar program to supply the Sky, Bihary said.
The Sky also has a composite panel on its front fender, between the wheel and the door, produced by Meridian Automotive Systems Inc. of Dearborn, Mich.