Related: Automotive Materials
This little bracket may be the thin end of the wedge when it comes to more structural plastic use in vehicles. DuPont Automotive (Troy, MI ) claims this mirror housing bracket, currently in use on the 2004 Dodge Durango, is the first use of plastic for structural support of a steel panel on a body-in-white. It's made of DuPont's Rynite polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resin which can withstand the 350° e-coat oven temperatures necessary for body-in-white use. Chrysler confirms that switching to Rynite from steel allowed it to reduce part costs by eliminating many steps in the bracket's manufacturing process, including an entire welding operation. A further benefit is weight reduction: the plastic part weighs 86% less than the equivalent part in steel.