The role of plastics in the European car industry has changed considerably. Historically the material was used as a substitute which did little to influence the total car design nor the production process. New development and market pressures indicate that creative plastic applications on vehicles are mandatory in order to meet the strategic objectives of the automotive industry. Development vehicles and already released advanced design studies give us an indication of how the new challenges are being addressed. Engineering thermoplastics already proven in several demanding applications will play a major role in state of the art vehicles manufacture in the late eighties. To realise the industry's vision a new dimension in the dialogue between plastic suppliers and car manufacturers has to be implemented to ensure mutual profitability.