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   1999 SPE Automotive Awards

The Power of Plastics

Since Bakelite phenolic resin was first used in an automotive application in 1909, plastics have made tremendous contributions to the form, function and durability of vehicles -- both large and small.  Worldwide, they have been engineered by every automaker into virtually all automotive systems, from their initial applications in powertrain components to their more recent, widespread adoption in automotive interiors.

Throughout the following pages, you will find many innovative automotive applications of plastics -- some recent, others with more than two decades of continuous use.  All have been recognized by the automotive engineering community for their contributions to the industry through the Society of Plastics Engineers' Automotive Division Awards as category winners or finalists.

Plastics offer numerous advantages, including corrosion resistance, part consolidation, recyclability and material cost savings.

In virtually every vehicle system -- powertrain, chassis, interior, exterior -- plastics offer numerous advantages, including corrosion resistance, part consolidation, recyclability and material cost savings.  With a renewed emphasis on fuel economy, plastics are particularly valuable in weight reduction, where one pound of plastics replaces two pounds of metal.

As an example of plastics' growing popularity in automotive applications, today's average American car is six percent plastic by weight, and experts predict that the number will rise to 10 percent by the year 2000.  In other world markets, plastics account for seven percent of the average car's weight today, with predictions that it will rise to 18 percent before the turn of the century.

This brochure, a cooperative endeavor between the Society of the Plastics Industry and the Society of Plastics Engineers, represents the automotive plastics industry's first joint effort to examine where the industry has been and its future direction.  It is designed to communicate the innovative advantages plastics offers and open a dialogue between the automotive and plastics industries.


Larry L. Thomas
Society of Plastics Industry
Robert D. Forger
Executive Director
Society of Plastics Engineers

For more information regarding the
Society of the Plastics Industry's Automotive Market Council,

Neville M. Pack,
Executive Director,
Automotive Market Council
Society of the Plastics Industry
P.O. Box 24540
Detroit, MI  48224
Suresh Shah   Delphi Interiors
SPE Automotive Division

Pat Levine 

Phone:  (313) 343-0918
Fax:  (313) 343-0679

The information in this website has been prepared by the Automotive Market Council of the Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc. (SPI), the Automotive Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) and LightSpeed Technologies, Inc. as a service to their members and to the industry.  It is offered in good faith as accurate and reliable, but is offered without warranty of any kind, either express or implied.  SPI, SPE, LightSpeed Technologies, Inc. and their members disclaim all liability for any loss or damage arising from reliance on such information by any party.  SPI and SPE do not endorse the proprietary products or processes of any manufacturer, and nothing in this website should be construed as such.   Consult the product manufacturers for specific information about particular products.

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