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9th July 2019, Aurora

Liftgate success for Magna

Magna’s liftgates use a long glass fibre polypropylene for the inner panel. © Magna International

Magna’s liftgates use a long glass fibre polypropylene for the inner panel. © Magna International

Magna International is forecasting that its sales of composite liftgate modules will climb to an annual value of US$ 485 million in 2021, following a succession of successful market launches and the continuing growth of sport utility and crossover vehicles.

Magna began producing thermoplastic composite liftgates in 1999 for a premium European automaker, followed by several more European launches.

The first North American thermoplastic liftgate was on the 2014 Nissan Rogue, and four more were launched during 2018, including those for the 2019 Jeep Cherokee and Acura RDX.

In total, more than 3 million liftgate modules had been produced by August 2018 and at the end of last year the company announced the opening of a new plant in Changsha, China, a joint venture with GAC Component for liftgate production for a global automaker’s new crossover vehicle programme.

In addition to mass savings of around 25% and design freedom, for deeper draws and tighter radii, other key benefits of Magna’s full-system assembly and delivery approach include reduced complexity of the total liftgate module, lower tooling investment and increased throughput at the assembly plant.

Magna’s liftgates use a long glass fibre polypropylene (LGFPP) for the inner panel that is 40% glass reinforced and often reinforced in high stress areas with other materials such as additional LGFPP pieces, glass or carbon reinforced mats or tapes.

“Magna’s thermoplastic liftgate modules answer the growing demand for products that help automakers cut vehicle weight, improve fuel efficiency, reduce CO2 emissions, extend electric vehicle battery range, and improve aerodynamics,” said Magna Exteriors president Grahame Burrow. “They also enable greater design freedom, which means our customers are better able to shape their brand image and perform more frequent and cost-effective mid-cycle refreshes.”

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