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Michael Arbaugh, chief designer of Ford interiors, describes center console space as "oceanfront property" – already fully populated, with more tenants trying to move in every year. Speaking to the Automotive Press Association in Detroit, Arbaugh said one tenant he'd like to evict is the CD player because it's dead weight for audio Luddites.

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Ford is getting religion when it comes to light-weighting its vehicles. The company has entered into a new partnership with Dow Chemical to develop carbon fiber that can be manufactured at affordable prices for high-volume applications. That, of course, is the holy grail of weight reduction, which is why other manufacturers like BMW and General Motors are also partnering with suppliers to try and achieve the same ends.

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Ford is getting religion when it comes to light-weighting its vehicles. The company has entered into a new partnership with Dow Chemical to develop carbon fiber that can be manufactured at affordable prices for high-volume applications. That, of course, is the holy grail of weight reduction, which is why other manufacturers like General Motors are also partnering with suppliers to try and achieve the same ends.

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After analyzing 26 individual components in compact vehicles, the University of Aachen and the European Aluminium Association concluded that using aluminum in some automotive parts (illustrated by the graphic above) could safely reduce vehicle body weight by up to 40 percent, resulting in 2.7 more miles per gallon of gasoline burned or approximately a 10 percent reduction in overall fuel consumption.

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Audi Sportback Concept - Click above for a high-res image gallery

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The cars built off of Audi's "B8" platform, including the A4 sedan, A5 coupe and their derivatives, have much to recommend them. Light weight is not among those characteristics. The lowest mass four cylinder front wheel drive A4 sedan weighs in at nearly 3,600 pounds and the V8-powered AWD S5 runs nearly 4,100 pounds. For mid-sized cars of very reasonable dimensions, these are prodigious numbers. Of course, modern safety regulations feed into this as does the continuing proliferation of feature

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Click above for a gallery of the Subaru R1e in New York

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With Ford selling off parts of its Premium Automotive Group (PAG) one at a time, it remains uncertain if Land Rover and Jaguar will end up under the same ownership in the future. In the meantime, Land Rover is collaborating with Jaguar on a future flagship model that will draw on Jaguar's expertise to produce a new Range Rover with a lighter-weight construction that could expand both upmarket and down.

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Click on the image for a gallery of high-res images of the KTM X-BOW.

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