In recent years thanks to the continuous improvements in production techniques the use of high polymers - plastomers, duromers, elastomers - has found ever-increasing justification in automobile design in Europe. The improved comfort of vehicle interiors, the reduction in weight of the automobiles and the associated energy savings, which the use of such materials guarantees, will continue to remain powerful sales arguments favouring the use of plastics despite the recent price increases.
The revised situation in the energy and raw material sectors, coupled with the growing desire for comfort and simpler operation, as well as new safety and statutory regulations, have forced the motor industry to consider the use of a wider range of materials. Most of the plastics used at the moment can be found inside the vehicle. Future percentage growth rates in the high polymer field will, however, be concentrated on those plastics which will find use in the coachwork and external car components. This will lead to reductions in the weight of the cars themselves and contribute towards reducing the number of parts subject to corrosion.
It is also clear that use of plastics does not always result in a reduction of vehicle weight, but nevertheless represents the best potential solution to a problem in terms of the minimum proportion of weight.
For the future, however, plastics demonstrate far more important properties than simply that of being lighter than other materials. They are being increasingly used today in automobile design for other reasons.