GM, Teijin To Develop Lightweight Auto Materials

09.12.2011 -

General Motors said that it had signed a deal with Japan's Teijin Ltd to jointly develop advanced, light-weight composites that would be used in the U.S. automaker's vehicles.

GM said the deal, signed on Thursday, would lead to greater use of lighter carbon fiber composites, for which the automotive industry has been pushing in its drive to reduce vehicle weights and increase fuel efficiency.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but GM said it does not include an exchange of stock between the companies.

GM said any launch of carbon fiber vehicle applications resulting from its relationship with Teijin Ltd would be announced closer to market use. The company did not say in which vehicles it would use the composites or when.

As part of the deal, Teijin will open a technical center in the northern part of the United States early next year, GM said without disclosing the location.

The deal involves using Teijin's carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic technology, which GM described as a faster way to produce the composites. The automaker said carbon fiber was 10 times stronger than regular-grade steel, but one-quarter the weight.

"This technology holds the potential to be an industry game change," GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky said in a statement.

Teijin is a global chemical company that makes specialty fibers and polymers for the automotive industry. Its customers include Toyota Motor Corp, Honda Motor Co Ltd and other major automakers.