Lightweight composite rear tailgates will be the first choice for SUVs and autonomous vehicles

As the sales of multi-purpose vehicles continue to grow and the rise of autonomous vehicles, the market demand for composite tailgates continues to grow.

In an unexpected way, you can find the latest frontiers in automotive engineering and design: at the back end of SUVs, crossovers and hatchbacks, people are paying more and more attention to “how to make the tailgate lighter” high.

The rear door with advanced material innovation has appeared on the Acura RDX

As the global sales of utility vehicles continue to grow, the market demand for the rear door of Magna composites is also growing. The composite tailgate reduces the weight of the car and helps reduce CO2 emissions. This rear door with advanced material innovations has appeared on cars such as the 2019 Jeep Cherokee and Acura RDX, as well as the BMW i3 and Nissan Rogue.

Magna’s composite or thermoplastic back door reduces weight by 25% and is perfect for SUVs. Consumers love the back door of composite materials because their seams and joints look cleaner, resulting in a higher quality look.

But these are not the only benefits. Riad Chaaya, Magna’s global composite tailgate product director, said: “The thermoplastic rear door also provides freedom of styling. The rear end of the car is increasingly becoming a selling point, which needs to make it look as good as the front end, even better.”

The i3 hatchback is a great example of how the rear door of Magna Thermoplastics enhances the look of the car. The taillights are mounted behind the rear door trim panel and are made of glass. Chaaya said that like the iPad or iPhone, the i3 composite tailgate is designed to be a seamless modern style.

Magna’s composite rear tailgate uses a mixture of thermoplastic polymer and 40% glass fiber to prepare it as a key element of autonomous vehicles.

According to Chaaya’s vision, the rear door for autonomous vehicles will not even have a glass rear window. Instead, the TV screen can be mounted to the rear door, and passengers can sit back and relax in a casual-style environment and watch the video.

“Several reasons, including styling and autonomous driving, are driving the rear door to shift more and more from metal to plastic,” Chaaya said. “In the future, this part of the car may change completely, Magna has This is ready. The difference between us and our competitors is that we can make a complete rear door system. From hardware to closure, to lighting, electronics and mechatronic components, we can make each of the rear tailgates. component.”

In autonomous vehicles, a composite or non-metallic tailgate may require multiple sensors, cameras and other features to be installed, while traditional steel tailgates may not be suitable for autonomous vehicles because they may interfere Sensitive sensors and other equipment.

In the tailgate market, composite tailgates account for about 4%, but Magna expects that this number will increase to about 20% in the next five to seven years as multi-purpose vehicles continue to grow.

With the launch of 2019 Cherokee and RDX in China, the global dominance of SUVs is expected to continue. A survey from automotive research firm JATO Dynamics: In 2017, a record number of 27.85 million new SUVs were sold worldwide, with a market share almost three times that of 10 years ago.

Chaaya expects that China with strict emission requirements will lead the market demand for composite tailgates, followed by Europe. In Argentina, Malaysia, Turkey, Brazil, Mexico, India and South Africa, there is still potential for further growth in demand for SUVs.

Magna is responding to this market demand. To some extent, the company began a joint venture with a subsidiary of the Guangzhou Automobile Group and began producing a composite tailgate for a crossover vehicle of a global automaker (launched in China at the end of 2018).

“We are fully capable of providing the products that SUVs need,” Chaaya said. “We are one of the few companies on the market that can make a complete rear door, and we have been doing it for many years. This is a very complicated Products require a lot of expertise, and we have the experience, know-how and manufacturing footprint to serve this market.”