Market Overview

FCA US Tells 'Hole' New Story at WCX 2017


AUBURN HILLS, Mich., April 3, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --

  • FCA US technical paper outlines new process to determine optimal size and dimension of weight-saving "lightening holes" – while preserving vehicle durability and performance
  • Such optimization can help reduce frame-component weight by up to five percent
  • One of 24 technical papers FCA US engineers will present at annual SAE event
  • FCA US co-sponsoring WCX 2017 Leadership Summit

FCA US LLC is exploring an innovative way to poke holes in conventional vehicle engineering.

Weight reduction, a key contributor to improved fuel economy, can be achieved by using less material. The challenge is determining which components can withstand weight reduction – and by how much – while still satisfying customer expectations for vehicle durability and performance.

FCA US engineers have developed multiple algorithms to quickly and precisely determine the optimal size and shape of "lightening holes." The new process is one of 24 topics Company engineers will discuss during WCX 2017, the SAE's annual international gathering at Cobo Center.

"Such exchange is vital to the industry's continuing mission of developing vehicles that deliver greater and greater efficiency," said Bob Lee, Head of Powertrain Coordination, FCA – Global, and ranking SAE member on the Company's management team. "FCA is proud to support SAE in this ongoing endeavor."

The Company is also co-sponsoring the Leadership Summit at WCX 2017. The featured event is a forum where various industry stakeholders engage in discussions that cover a wide range of topics, including the growing importance of weight reduction.

"FCA US is committed to designing and producing lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicles that still meet the demands of our customers," said Phil Jansen, Head of Product Development, FCA – North America. "The all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica meets these criteria. Not only is it 250 pounds lighter than the vehicle it replaced, the Pacifica is larger and stiffer.

"Such progress bodes well for our ongoing investigation of strategic material placement," Jansen added.

The algorithms developed by FCA US engineers may be applied to any component. Simulations on virtual truck-frame components saw weight savings of three percent to five percent.

With such a tool at their disposal, vehicle development teams can accelerate their work, which benefits customers by reducing the time required to bring new products to market.

Lee and Jansen will participate in Leadership Summit panel discussions on Thursday, April 6. Their topics, respectively, are product expectations in the next decade, and the current state of industry innovation.

FCA US LLC is a North American automaker with a new name and a long history. Headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, FCA US is a member of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (FCA) family of companies. FCA US designs, engineers, manufactures and sells vehicles under the Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram and FIAT brands, as well as the SRT performance vehicle designation. The company also distributes Alfa Romeo vehicles and Mopar products. FCA US is building upon the historic foundations of Chrysler, the innovative American automaker first established by Walter P. Chrysler in 1925; and Fiat, founded in Italy in 1899 by pioneering entrepreneurs, including Giovanni Agnelli.

FCA, the seventh-largest automaker in the world based on total annual vehicle sales, is an international automotive group. FCA is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "FCAU" and on the Mercato Telematico Azionario under the symbol "FCA."

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