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Stacey Phillips

Stacey Phillips photoStacey Phillips is a freelance writer for the automotive industry based in Southern California. She has 20 years of experience as an editor including writing in a number of businesses and fields.

 

She can be reached at sphillips.autobodynews@gmail.com. 

 
Thursday, 12 August 2021 21:00

Automotive Industry Trend Continues Towards Use of Lightweight Materials

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A BMW i8 using carbon fiber. A BMW i8 using carbon fiber. Tim Ronak

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Since the early 20th century, steel has been the material of choice by auto manufacturers worldwide. Almost every vehicle model has been designed using steel due to its strength, cost-effectiveness, workability and availability.

“Automakers are now moving away from the use of mild steel, which was a core substrate used for automotive construction for a long time,” said Ryan Mandell, director, Claims Performance, Auto Physical Damage Solutions for Mitchell International.

 

Instead, OEMs are increasingly using lightweight materials such as aluminum, high-strength steel, ultra-high-strength steel and plastic.

 

Ryan Mandell web

Ryan Mandell, director, Claims Performance, Auto Physical Damage Solutions for Mitchell International.

 

Mandell has worked in a variety of industry segments over his career. He joined Progressive Insurance as an adjuster after graduating college in 2004 and then worked for a medium-size MSO, Precision Collision Auto Body, based in Washington. Before he was hired by Mitchell in 2017, he was in charge of five wrecking facilities owned by B&R Auto Wrecking in the northwest for four years.

 

Autobody News talked to Mandell about the use of lightweight materials in current and future model vehicles and how this shift will impact collision repairers.

 

Why are automakers moving away from the use of mild steel and using lightweight materials?

 

Manufacturers are moving away from the use of mild steel for a couple of reasons. First, they want to improve fuel economy in response to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)’s Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, which regulate how far vehicles must travel on a gallon of fuel. The current requirement is...


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