• Apr 29, 2010
2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG – Click above for high-res image gallery
It seem like just a few days ago BMW came forth stating that its use of carbon fiber on upcoming vehicles would become a high-volume deal. Now Green Car Advisor reports that Daimler, never willing to be a step behind, has also announced plans to increase its investment in the material. Daimler has enlisted the help of Toray Industries, a Japanese textile company, to help make carbon fiber body parts for Mercedes-Benz vehicles beginning in 2012. The parts will reduce vehicle weight and help the company meet upcoming CAFE regulations. The first Mercedes product to be adorned with carbon fiber will be the SL-Class.

Daimler choose Toray Industries due to its expertise in carbon fiber. Though not a common name to many, Toray is actually the dominant force in the industry, controlling 34 percent of the global market. This will be Toray's first venture into making car parts out of carbon fiber. The company's current automotive-related experiences with the material has been limited to supplying carbon fiber yarns to Ferrari and various aftermarket companies. Daimler and Toray will work together on development of the carbon fiber reinforced plastic body parts and production will be carried out at a Toray facility in France.

Photos copyright ©2009 Chris Paukert / Weblogs, Inc.
[Source: Green Car Advisor]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 22 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      So does this mean that small accidents will result in total write-offs? You can't really "pull a dent out" of carbon fiber. How do you repair carbon fiber? Or do you make parts more modular?
        • 4 Years Ago
        all damaged panels will have to be replaced. much as they are now, nobody really pulls dents and fills anymore from what I have seen. I could be wrong, but mostly what I see are panel replacement - and when it is something they cant unbolt, they cut it off and weld on a new panel.
        Where this will really change things is crash performance. Because carbon fiber does not absorb energy the same way as metal.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Good choice of supplier. Toray does good work and is very consistent. Some of our customers request that we use their stuff despite the price hike.

      I wonder though, how they'll be using the fiber. To my knowledge, Toray doesn't impregnate, so will that be taken care of in-house at Daimler, or will there be a joint-partnership impreg plant developed, or will they simply use "wet" carbon parts?
        • 4 Years Ago
        The article says it's their French division that will do most of the work.

        Obviously the Germans want it close to home, or at least in Europe, certainly for the development work. Toray will probably look into doing more of the work in either Germany or France...
        • 4 Years Ago
        just so there is no mis-understanding, i did read the article, i realize it says that "development...and production" of the body parts will take place at the Toray facility (which one, they're global), but I'm confused. I think their American arm produces pre-preg, does that mean American jobs? or that it will be their source-pool? Idk, guess we'll see. Good luck to all.
      • 4 Years Ago
      And the cost of insuring a carbon fiber car will be astronomical.
      Russ
      • 4 Years Ago
      Don't forget not to confuse German Daimler with Britain's Daimler now part of Jaguar. Daimler Cars is Britain's oldest car manufacturer since 1894. The new English 2012 Daimler is probably the finest ever thanks to some Indian influx.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm going to have a chuckle ten years from now when I'm watching an MSNBC special report on what the world is going to do with all of the carbon fiber that's piling up in landfills or being incinerated. I'm also going to spend tomorrow scouring the internets to find some of the global leaders on reclaiming and recycling fibers because they will be the golden geese of this latest enviro-tastic escapade and I like my share prices undervalued.

      "Look at all of the fuel emissions this car saves!"

      "Hey, what's that burning smell coming from the carbon fiber waste depository?"
        • 4 Years Ago
        There is a way to break down the carbon and resin. Acetone. Acetone will degrade the carbon, but it could be disposed of semi-conventionally. What "could" be re-used to some degree is that broken down acetone-resin mix. Not that it would. It would be easier and more cost-efficient to start over, but in a world where cars are made of carbon fiber, it's possible.

        Or...they could grind it up and pave the roads with it. Idk, probably not. It probably wouldn't be cost-efficient there either since it'd have to be made non-toxic, but it's a nice thought. Anything meaning we didn't have crap roads is a nice thought to me.

        That's what really bugs me about CAFE and the eco-movement. Really?! The gov't cares about fuel economy? Do they realize how much more gas it takes to drive over a washboard? How about instead of regulating everyone into doing their part, they concentrate on doing theirs and maintaining roads.
      • 4 Years Ago
      ^_^ whoa is CAFE regulations going to make Carbon fiber main stream?

      McLauren SLR was around ~3700 lbs ? And that was totally Carbon Fiber! >_> Then again it's because of Benz's strict safety requirement.
      Johannes
      • 4 Years Ago
      Next will come the bio degradeable series Mercedes Benz's with a maximum shelf life of 5 yrs. ! Watch and see !!
      • 4 Years Ago
      'bout friggin time someone got moving on carbon fiber for 'regular' cars. hmmm...took tougher CAFE rules to make it happen. Where's the market demand for lighter cars?! Guess a little government push and regulation isn't such a bad thing.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Dude, really?! CAFE?! So it had nothing to do with market demand and consumer consciousness of fuel economy?!

        CAFE is of little consequence to mercedes. If nothing else, they could up the price of their vehicles enough to offset the fines without anyone noticing. What they do have to account for is that if other companies keep improving, it makes purchasing a Mercedes that much more of a difficult decision.

        Right now, MPGs mean more to consumers that MPHs, for the first time in decades. CAFE is not the reason. Gas hitting $5/gal and sending everyone into a frenzy is responsible. Now ppl are paranoid about gas. Ppl are actually basing their decisions on something that may save them $200/yr in gas, but cost them $5-10K more upfront, but that's the priority of the average consumer. Gas.

        Ferrari and Lamborghini just want to grab some green headlines. They sell cars that get 12 mpg and sell to ppl that can afford to gas them. Mercedes isn't there, they have to appeal to ppl that don't have more money than brains (not saying Ferrari and Lambo drivers are brainless, it's just an expression). If the average mid size car starts getting 50 mpg, Mercedes will not be able to stick with. 27 hwy. It'll attach a stigma to it.

        And cars are trending up because of consumers that are basing their purchases on 1-2 mpg hwy ratings differences (even ppl who NEVER drive on the hwy). So manufacturers are scrambling for those 1-2 mpgs, and COMPETITION DRIVES PROGRESS.

        Wow, look what you can determine when you use logic and reasoning rather than drinking the party kool aid. Fascinating.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Carbon fiber has been in exotics for years - without trickling down to 'regular' cars. It's sad that it took a CAFE kick in the pants to get Mercedes to get serious.

        We needs us some lightness.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Well, it's not the old 300SL, but it comes pretty close. If I had that kind of money to spend on a new car, this would definitely be on my list of candidates.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I thought you were going to say that Mercedes Benz were going to make REAL quality cars again!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Fantastic.

      Someday this will hopefully trickle down to everyone's common auto.
      • 4 Years Ago
      is diamler also going to find some ghetto place in washington to make CF? or even better, Idaho? Wallace?! BWAHAHAHA. I can't wait for that press release.
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