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German-based Daimler AG and Japan's Toray Industries have joined forces to manufacture carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) for the automotive industry. Though the name of the joint venture has yet to be determined, Toray's stake will stand at 50.1 percent, Daimler's at 44.9, and other unnamed partners will hold a five-percent share.

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Toray Industries, a leading producer of carbon fiber material, will begin supplying both Toyota and Fuji Heavy Industries (parent company of Subaru) with the lightweight product for use on upcoming vehicles. Toyota will reportedly use the carbon fiber to produce hoods and roofs for the Lexus LFA, a limited production sports car, and Fuji Heavy will offer optional carbon fiber roofs on several of Subaru's sportier offerings.

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2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG – Click above for high-res image gallery

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2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG – Click above for high-res image gallery

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Carbon fiber has long been heralded as a wonder material for the automotive industry due to its inherent strength and light weight. Despite this favorable strength-to-weight ratio and the fact that it's now been around for decades in one form or another, the composite has yet to see widespread use in our cars and trucks. There are a number of reasons for this, including the well-known duo of cost and manufacturing difficulties.

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Carbon fiber has long been heralded as a wonder material for the automotive industry due to its inherent strength and light weight. Despite this favorable strength-to-weight ratio and the fact that it's now been around for decades in one form or another, the composite has yet to see widespread use in our cars and trucks. There are a number of reasons for this, including the well-known duo of cost and manufacturing difficulties.

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If there's one thing that's certain in this crazy world we live in, it's that Ultimate Driving Machines are driven by their rear wheels. Sure, there's an occasional all-wheel drive model thrown in for good measure, but even those revert to the tried-and-true RWD when extra traction from the front two contact patches isn't deemed necessary or desirable. Well, alert the media (oh, wait...): BMW has confirmed the rumors that it will build front-wheel drive automobiles.

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2011 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Carbon - Click above for high-res image gallery

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For the last century or so, cars and trucks have predominantly been formed from one material in particular: steel. It's not hard to see why – steel is relatively inexpensive, highly abundant and easy to form into somewhat complex shapes that can be repaired with mostly basic tools.

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