Technological watch

Recyclable thermoplastic liftgates enable weight savings and design freedom

31 Aug 2018The continuing growth of sport utility and crossover vehicles – which made up roughly one-third of global sales in 2017 – combined with changing global emissions standards has many automakers adopting lightweight thermoplastic liftgate modules.

Magna offers automakers expertise in delivering these recyclable modules, which provide up to 25 percent weight savings compared to steel versions and allow for broader design flexibility.

“Magna’s thermoplastic liftgate modules answer the growing demand for products that help automakers cut vehicle weight, improve fuel efficiency, reduce CO2 emissions, extend electric vehicle battery range, and improve aerodynamics,” said Magna Exteriors President Grahame Burrow.

“They also enable greater design freedom, which means our customers are better able to shape their brand image and perform more frequent and cost-effective mid-cycle refreshes.”

Magna began producing thermoplastic liftgates in 1999 for a premium European automaker, followed by several more European launches. The first North American thermoplastic liftgate was on the 2014 Nissan Rogue, and two more launched this year on the 2019 Jeep Cherokee and 2019 Acura RDX. Magna will launch two more later this year in China. In total, more than 3 million thermoplastic liftgate modules have rolled off Magna production lines around the world. In addition to mass savings and design freedom, key benefits of Magna’s full-system assembly and delivery approach include reduced complexity of the total liftgate module, lower tooling investment and increased throughput at the assembly plant.

IHS Markit estimates the global SUV/compact SUV market will grow from 34 million units in 2018 to almost 43 million units by 2025. Magna sees a considerable growth opportunity to provide thermoplastic liftgates for this growing segment.

Publication date: 31/08/2018

JEC Composites

This project has been co-funded with the support of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Union [LIFE17 ENV/ES/000438] Life programme

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Last update: 2020-07-14