To satisfy the never-ending quest by automakers to shed needless weight, the Epilogics Group developed its lightweight Kuhl wheel. Now it's adding some upscale styling.

Through licensee Hayes Lemmerz International, Epilogics is taking its new chrome clad wheel to market to compete with other upscale wheel trim offerings. The chrome 5-spoke "cover" was developed in cooperation with Lacks Wheel Trim Systems. The companies displayed their new product at the SAE 2001 Congress on Tuesday.

The unique lighweight Kuhl wheel uses standard steel wheel rims with a riveted-on one-piece stamped center hub and spokes. Hayes officials claim a 25% weight savings over conventional steel wheels and note that the open design of the stamped hubs and spokes can reduce brake temperatures by as much as 100 degrees F. They also claim the new design offers greater flexibility in wheel trim design over conventional steel wheels.

Hayes officials say the new wheels should be "on the road" in production vehicles within a couple of years.