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What GM thinks about plastic panels vs fit/finish.

Old 08-08-2013, 12:35 PM
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Re: What GM thinks about plastic panels vs fit/finish.

Zombies live here!!
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Old 08-08-2013, 06:57 PM
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Re: What GM thinks about plastic panels vs fit/finish.

this was a good one to bring back.
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Old 08-08-2013, 09:31 PM
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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.
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Old 08-09-2013, 08:10 AM
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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
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