The history of plastics application shows that the period is accomplished when plastic materials were used as a substitute. It furthermore has proven to be a competitive alternative to metal application where typical advantages concerning the chemical or physical consistence are acquired. New degrees of freedom for creative design have set new accents. A review enables us to separate stable trends from too ambitious aspects. Thus a new prognosis may be more reliable. Past prognostic statements are reviewed and interpreted by means of an analysis of plastics application at a typical European mass production vehicle. This paper deals with the systematic approach to material selection and design of components, which can be selected from a big multitude of specific data and recommendations. The high priority of a design philosophy and a design strategy is established.