“It's 5 lbs. lighter and five bucks cheaper,” boasts John Young, marketing manager at Owens-Corning Automotive, pointing to a one-piece door inner module at the company's Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress exhibit. The panel was developed for a new “B-class” European car that Young declines to identify, but WAW learns is likely the new Ford Fiesta moving into production.

The injection-molded panel combines long glass fibers and polypropylene. OC supplies the glass reinforcement and DSM supplies the polymers. French supplier Faurecia molds the panels and delivers them fully assembled with window and door mechanisms, speakers and other components installed, Young says. Adding nylon used in similar applications is 15% heavier and costs more.