Automotive companies select their composites partners – 8 of the best

It's a logical step. Automotive companies need composites to help reduce the weight of their vehicles. Composites suppliers want to get more of their products into new cars. Here's how they've teamed up (listed in chronological order).

♦ October 2009: BMW and carbon fibre manufacturer SGL Group form a joint venture to manufacture carbon fibre and carbon fibre fabrics for the automotive industry. The products will be used to produce carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) body components for the BMW i3 set for launch in 2013 (pictured left) and the BMW i8.

♦ January 2011: Carbon fibre producer Toray and Daimler (Mercedes-Benz) announce a joint venture in Germany for the manufacture and marketing of CFRP automotive parts.

♦ February 2011: Audi and Voith, a German industrial group using CFRP in industrial plant design, sign a letter of intent for a development partnership focusing on the development and automated production of  composite materials for automotive use.

♦ December 2011: General Motors (GM) and carbon fibre producer Teijin announce a 'co-development pact' to develop carbon fibre composite technologies for potential use in high-volume GM vehicles, focusing on Teijin’s carbon fibre reinforced thermoplastic processing technology.

♦ February 2012: Toray and UK automotive design company Gordon Murray Design Ltd (GMD) sign a technical partnership agreement to develop mass production techniques for thermoplastic CFRP in the vehicle main structure.

March 2012: Carbon fibre producer Zoltek and automotive supplier Magna Exteriors and Interiors announce an exclusive global collaborative partnership to develop low-cost carbon fibre sheet moulding compound (SMC) for the automotive industry.

April 2012: Ford and Dow Automotive Systems sign a joint development agreement to research the use of carbon fibre composites in high-volume vehicles. (A couple of months later Dow announces plans to form a joint venture with Turkish company AKSA to manufacture carbon fibre.)

♦ August 2012: Cytec announces a strategic collaboration with Jaguar Land Rover to develop designs, materials and manufacturing concepts for the cost-effective use of composites materials in automotive structures.