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General Motors China ATC and PATAC award for development of magnesium-intensive decklid highlights focus on lightweight materials

30 September 2013

The GM China Advanced Technical Center (ATC) and GM’s Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC) joint venture in Shanghai received the Material Technology Innovation Award for the research and development of an innovative magnesium-intensive decklid.

The magnesium-intensive decklid covers the trunk of a vehicle. Developed by the ATC and GM Global R&D with the support of PATAC for use by Shanghai GM, it is the industry’s first commercial application of a deeply formed magnesium sheet in an automotive body closure panel. The decklid offers a mass reduction of 1.2 kilograms (2.6 lbs) compared to a similar part made of steel or aluminum.

Research on lightweight materials, including magnesium, is a focus of the ATC. With 80 percent of the world’s known magnesium reserves located in China, it is advantageous for GM to carry out research locally. Using magnesium can significantly decrease a vehicle’s weight, resulting in better fuel economy. We are on the cutting edge in adopting lightweight materials that have passed the most stringent strength and corrosion tests.

—Jeff Wang, Manager of Advanced Materials at the GM China Science Lab

GM expects the application of magnesium sheet metal to grow as costs drop with the adoption of new materials and process improvements. GM’s goal is to expand the use of low-mass parts on vehicles around the world. It will also pursue licensing opportunities for its technology with raw material and spare parts suppliers.

The Material Technology Innovation Award was presented in Shanghai during the 2013 China Automobile & Parts Industry Development & Innovation Awards sponsored by Automobile & Parts magazine, the Shanghai Overseas Exchange Association and the Tongji University Automotive Studies School.

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