Plastic Versus Steel Exterior Body Panels-An Insurance Company Perspective 860514

In 1975, plastics represented about three percent of a car's curb weight. By 1981, the figure had risen to seven percent, or about 200 pounds. Total plastic weight for 1985 cars averages 240 pounds (1)*. Some industry executives project a total of about 280 to 290 pounds in 1990 models, or about ten percent weight content.
The increasing use of plastic components in the manufacture of automobiles has resulted in new approaches to collision damage repair.
The average new vehicle will be involved in one insurance-reported accident, having crash part damage, every 6.7 years. A NHTSA study estimates that over 90 percent of all car owners have some form of motor vehicle insurance which pays 70 percent of the $20.6 billion in annual societal property damage cost (2). The increasing use of plastics for exterior body panel applications results in greater numbers of vehicle repairs that will require repair or replacement of damaged plastic crash parts.


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