BMW Buys Shares in Carbon Fiber Manufacturer SGL

BMW has secured a 15 percent share in SGL Carbon SE, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of products from carbon. The Bavarian carmaker will strengthen its focus on lightweight construction and the use of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) in automotive industry.

The use of carbon fiber is on the rise in the automotive industry. The very strong and lightweight material could benefit the fuel efficiency and emissions by reducing the weight of the car. At this moment carbon fiber is still an exclusive material, but is about to change as more companies looking for new ways to apply the lightweight material. Friedrich Eichiner, member of the Board of Management of BMW, said:

Lightweight construction will play an increasingly important role in the automobile industry in the future. Our stake-holding in the SGL Group is a logical step that will further strengthen our successful cooperation.

The BMW Group and SGP already collaborated in a joint venture, SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers. The joint venture was founded for the exclusive supply of carbon fiber fabrics to the BMW Group.

The facilities in Munich and Wackersdorf (Bavaria, Germany) and Moses Lake (Washington State, USA) will play an important role in fabricating the lightweight components for the upcoming BMW i3 and i8. Production of both plug-in electric cars is scheduled to start in 2013.

According to Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, director of the Center for Automotive Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany, BMW will gain an advantage over competitor Audi. By securing influence over SGL, BMW will wrest away Audi’s advantage in light-weight vehicles, based on the VW unit’s expertise in aluminum. Dudenhoeffer said:

BMW achieved a lot with this move. Light-weight technology will certainly be a decisive factor for the auto industry in the future.

[Via Bloomberg]

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  1. Dudenhoeffer said:

    “BMW achieved a lot with this move. Light-weight technology will certainly be a decisive factor for the auto industry in the future.”

    The term auto is a generic expression meaning an automotive vehicle, where automotive stands simply for self-moving, not necessessarily meaning by means of wheels as it could also be by means of wings, i.e. an aircraft!

    Mr Dudenhoeffer therefore made a premonitory statement, considering that the future of intercity individual mobility will be based on ultralight, electric, rotary-wing aircraft.

    In this view, BMW’s joint venture with SGL for the MegaCityCar project encompasses only the urban part of individual mobility of the future, with the other part to be seen in personal aircraft for extra-urban mobility.

    Will BMW understand this issue and become the first automotive group producing a flying model T?

    BMW doubtlessly has the technology expertise, human resources, and financial surface to to so, but I doubt they will, because BMW lacks the status of a person with a vision and a desire — or do you know of a top decision maker within the organization who could be called and who acts as if he were Mr BMW?


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