Q: How do you think the use of composites will change over the next five years in the automotive industry?
A: We’re going to see lots more of [composites]. We’re going to see [more] structural composites. We use various polymer and plastic systems throughout our vehicles now. There’s filled and unfilled interior parts and exterior parts. Those are all the non-structural or semi-structural kinds of things that have to hold themselves up, but they don’t add to the durability or the stiffness of the vehicles. So those are going to grow and the use of polymer composites is going to grow. It’s really a matter of cost and vehicle need that will determine how many parts on which vehicles being manufactured with composites.
Q: Aside from using composites, how are OEMs such as Ford achieving lightweighting goals?
A: We have the aluminum F-150, with the high-strength steel frame and the aluminum body. So that’s where we have been. Those are tools that we are bringing to bear as appropriate as we launch new vehicles with what our customer needs are and what the fuel economy requirements are.
Q: What was your first car?
A: Oh my gosh! The first car that I bought was a Pontiac T1000 back in 1981.