One of the major steps that can be taken to reduce vehicle leadtime is optimal body engineering. To understand this process, a short history of vehicle body development will be presented plus examples of three active programs that highlight the use of aluminum, plastics and steel concentrating on weight and cost reduction.
In addition, two areas of potential design and development leadtime reduction will be investigated. First, the potential of drastically reducing the “concept” decision leadtime…this can be done with the aid of a new computer program. Secondly, the need for excellent communication between the car companies, their contract design services and the “blackbox/graybox” suppliers.