It was a noble experiment. The former Chrysler Corp. dreamed of building lightweight, low-cost plastic cars by simply affixing a dozen or fewer pieces together as opposed to as many as 100 body parts for a conventional vehicle. The promise was intoxicating: the plastic would be derived from thermoplastic polyethylene terephthalate or PET – the stuff pop bottles are made of. It would be 100% recyclable, and the new material and process had the potential to improve fuel economy, cut ...

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