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Automotive Plastics Conference to Focus on Vehicle Lightweighting


Plastics News has announced that it will present a new conference focusing on innovations in plastics in vehicles. Titled “Plastics In Automotive: Building Tomorrow’s Car,” the conference will be presented during Industry Preview Days at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit and will feature numerous presentations and panels with leading OEMs, Tier 1 suppliers and other experts on the development of automotive plastics. The event will take place Jan. 14-15 at the Westin Book Cadillac.

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The conference will explore the advancements of automotive plastic and how it can play a major role as a go-to material for building vehicles that are powerful, safe, comfortable and affordable. Featured topics include panel discussions on autonomous vehicles, material innovations and the implementation of CAFE standards that will affect automotive development.

“Plastic is an enabler for future automotive development, with composite materials, lightweighting and self-driving vehicles representing some of the key vehicle trends that engage the use of material and process innovations,” said Plastics News Conference Director Joseph Pryweller. “This inaugural event will explore many of these key areas and provide a vision for the near future.”


Attendees will hear a keynote address from Frank Macher, chairman/CEO of Continental Structural Plastics, who will provide insights on the use of automotive plastics in today’s vehicles and beyond. Macher spent 30 years at Ford Motor Co., including leadership as vice president of Ford’s Automotive Components Group. He also was CEO at automotive supplier Collins & Aikman, chairman and CEO of Federal-Mogul Corporation and CEO of ITT Automotive.

The conference also will include a keynote panel discussion on automotive composites featuring Ellen Lee, team leader in plastics research at Ford Motor Company. The use of composites and carbon fiber also will be addressed during panel presentations on the BMW i3 led by renowned automotive engineer Sandy Munro. The i3 features a pioneering use of automotive plastics,  and a special presentation by William Harney, global director of interiors and exteriors at Magna International Inc.


The emergence of autonomous vehicles – and the role of plastics – also will be primary attractions. An afternoon session will include presentations from David Muyre, executive director of global product innovation at Johnson Controls Inc., and noted automotive designer Austen Angell, who also is chairman of the International Designers Society of America (IDSA). A tentative presentation on regulatory hurdles involving automotive vehicles will be led by Don Parshall, senior counsel at Nissan North America Inc.

Other sessions will include forecasts for plastics resins used in automotive from Paul Blanchard, director of engineering resins for IHS Inc.; a look at innovations for automotive plastics from Jeff Sternberg, global automotive technology director at DuPont; and a special materials innovations panel.


Plastics in Automotive attendees will also have an opportunity to register to attend the Automotive News World Congress networking dinners with keynote addresses from Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors Corp. and Sergio Marchionne, chairman and CEO of Chrysler Group LLC and CEO of Fiat S.p.A. In addition, attendees will be given free tickets to attend Industry Preview Days at the North American Auto Show.

More information:

Register for the event

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