Innovative Borealis materials achieve eye-catching design for FIAT 500

High-performance materials from Borealis, a leading provider of innovative value creating plastics solutions, have helped FIAT to create a visually, highly-differentiated small car for drivers - the FIAT 500. The 2008 Car of the Year uses polypropylene-based Daplen thermoplastic olefins (TPO) from Borealis on its bumpers and dashboard to achieve the superior aesthetics and excellent performance of its parts that give the FIAT 500 the edge in the small car market.

Italy`s leading car manufacturer FIAT set visual appeal as one of the top priorities for its new 500 model for both interior and exterior components. To successfully realise FIAT`s eye-catching concept of a large bumper with outstanding scratch resistance, a Class A smooth surface finish and good paintability, Borealis worked closely with parts moulder Ersi (Poland) and FIAT to find the ideal material solution.

The challenge was met with Daplen EE103AI, a high melt flow rate (MFR) TPO with excellent scratch resistance and the ability to achieve uniform thickness over a large surface area. Its low thermal expansion over a broad temperature range ensures consistent high quality for large, moulded parts and precise fitting to other exterior panels, further enhancing the overall visual impression.

The dashboard specifications set by FIAT were particularly challenging. To keep a high level of aesthetic surface appeal and avoid visual defects, FIAT specified a mono-material solution for the 500`s major interior parts. Poland-based parts moulder Plastal chose Daplen EE168AI to meet requirements for excellent scratch resistance and low gloss, while also guaranteeing a consistent finish and high quality parts integration through the material`s high dimensional stability and low thermal expansion. In addition, the excellent impact/stiffness ratio offered by Daplen EE168AI enhances vehicle safety.

Both bumper and dashboard benefit from the lightweight of polypropylene without compromising on performance of parts. Lighter weight components can contribute towards lower overall vehicle weight, resulting in reduced fuel consumption and less CO2 emissions. The FIAT 500 falls within the EU CO2 emission standard of 120g/km set to take effect from 2012.

- Vehicle manufacturers are continuously seeking ways to sharpen the competitive edge of their brands - comments Franz Zängerl, Manager Business Development Automotive at Borealis. - The use of Daplen materials in both interior and exterior applications on the FIAT 500 has helped FIAT to realise its ambitions for a small vehicle with cutting-edge design features that will boost consumer perceptions of FIAT`s image and quality. The success of our materials in these components opens up exciting new opportunities for the use of polypropylene-based compounds in new automotive applications.

Borealis and Borouge are leading providers of innovative, value creating plastics solutions. With more than 40 years of experience in polyolefins and using our unique Borstar technology, it focuses on the infrastructure, automotive and advanced packaging markets. The company has production facilities, innovation centres and service centres across Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific and work with customers in more than 170 countries around the world to provide plastic materials that make an essential contribution to society and to sustainable development.