For most automakers, mainstream carbon-fiber use is still several years away but a number of firms, including Japanese carbon-specialists Toray, are working closely with the auto industry to help bring down the cost of the lightweight stuff.
In fact, Toray has announced a partnership with Daimler to produce carbon-fiber parts for cars and the first model to benefit from the deal will be the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class due in 2012. The carbon-fiber will be produced at a plant in France.
Interestingly, this is the first time that Toray, the world’s biggest supplier of carbon-fiber with a 34 percent global market share, will be producing parts for cars. The company has previously supplied Ferrari with carbon yarn, however.
BMW made a similar move earlier this month, announcing that it would partner with SGL Group to source new carbon-fiber components for its future cars. However, while Daimler is starting with high-end models like the next-gen SL, BMW will be using the carbon-fiber for its upcoming Megacity Vehicle.