Automotive News / Industry / Future Vehicle Discussion Automotive news and discussion about upcoming vehicles

What GM thinks about plastic panels vs fit/finish.

Old 08-08-2013, 12:35 PM
  #46  
rwb
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Ks,USA
Posts: 191
Re: What GM thinks about plastic panels vs fit/finish.

Zombies live here!!
rwb is offline  
Old 08-08-2013, 06:57 PM
  #47  
Registered User
 
King Moose SS's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Detroit, MI
Posts: 1,068
Re: What GM thinks about plastic panels vs fit/finish.

this was a good one to bring back.
King Moose SS is offline  
Old 08-08-2013, 09:31 PM
  #48  
Registered User
 
gtjeff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Racine, WI
Posts: 389
Re: What GM thinks about plastic panels vs fit/finish.

Since I own a 1988 Fiero GT, I will offer my take on this topic. Fiero used an industry first mill-drill process to ensure tight fitting body panels. Yes in an accident they would crack, but the idea was to unbolt the old panel and bolt on a new one. This is the main reason the car was used for many kit car projects. It was the first production space frame car in 1984, the precious Corvette wasn't built on a spaceframe until 1997 when they switched to rear tranny just like Fiero. Saturn grabbed the technology and tooling when Chevy did what they could to get the Fiero cancelled.

The plastic panels did have larger gaps to allow for expanding and contracting during hot or cold weather. Note its no longer an issue with the Vette plastic panels, I'm not sure what the difference is. The key thing about an all plastic car is a weight reduction of about 100 pounds over steel panels which would mean 1-2 mpg more. Throw in a space frame and you would have a strong, light weight structure.

As far as Saturn goes, the plastic panels were a key product attribute. While Bob Lutz knows alot about cars, he failed to take the time to understand Saturn customers. When the new Vue came out in 2008 it weighed 800 pounds more than the outgoing plastic paneled space frame Vue. This was when gas was $4.25 a gallon.

Plastic panels had a tooling cost that was a fraction of traditional dies. I remember reading how GM bragged they could make styling changes yearly due to the plastic panels, it never happened. The surge in oil prices made their cost increase substantially.
gtjeff is offline  
Old 08-09-2013, 08:10 AM
  #49  
Registered User
 
Jason E's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Southampton, Taxachusetts
Posts: 3,364
Re: What GM thinks about plastic panels vs fit/finish.

I read through this only to see if I posted 10 years ago. I did not
Jason E is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
rjc1629
Parts For Sale
1
01-27-2015 10:46 AM
siguy
Parts For Sale
3
11-27-2014 10:07 AM
YellowTransAm350
LT1 Based Engine Tech
22
03-02-2003 03:38 PM
Lions3
Car Audio and Electronics
4
08-30-2002 01:03 PM
firebirdude
Car Audio and Electronics
9
08-07-2002 07:31 AM


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Quick Reply: What GM thinks about plastic panels vs fit/finish.


Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

© 2019 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.