The common theme of late amongst the major luxury automakers is to form industry partnerships with experts in the field of advanced lightweight structures, with an aim to eventually build lighter cars that are still relatively safe in the quest for improved fuel economy. 

We’ve already seen BMW and Mercedes-Benz form respective partnerships with SGL Group and Toray, and even Lamborghini has teamed up with a university to open an advanced composite structures lab.

Now Audi joins the fray with news that it's forming a partnership with fellow German company Voith in order to further optimize the production of fiber-reinforced materials in the interest of the environment and the economy.

For several years now, Voith has been intensively involved with the use of carbon fiber in industrial plant design, such as in lightweight construction components in paper machines or in drive engineering. With the help of the development partnership being announced today, the company will now be able to apply its technological know-how to the automotive sector as well.

The two firms have signed a letter of intent regarding a development partnership. The partnership will focus on a highly automated process chain for high-volume automotive fiber related products, namely, lightweight structures and body panels.  

With a little luck, we could be seeing Audi’s next sports cars combine the automaker’s aluminum spaceframe technology with lighter carbon fiber construction. We can’t wait.