The use of high and medium strength steels in light vehicle construction increased by more than 60% from 1995 to 2008. Plastic and plastic composites, aluminum, and stainless steel also saw increased use during that period, while iron castings decreased by about 35%. Though there has been greater use of lightweight materials during this period, the overall material weight in light vehicles has increased by 376 lbs – from 3,694 pounds in 1995 to 4,070 pounds in 2008.

Selected Material Content per Light Duty Vehicle, 1995 and 2008

Note: See supporting information for weight of other materials not shown on graph.


 Supporting Information

Select Material Content per Light Vehicle, 1995 and 2008 (Pounds)
High and Medium Strength Steel324523
Stainless Steel5175
Iron Castings466301
Plastic and Plastic Composites240343
Other Materials*2,3822,513
Total Materials3,6944,070

*Other Materials include: Regular steel, other steels, magnesium castings, copper and brass, lead, zinc castings, powder metal, other metals, rubber, coatings, textiles, fluids and lubricants, glass and other materials (not specified in original source table).
Source: Ward's Automotive Group, Ward's Motor Vehicle Facts & Figures, 2010.

Return to 2010 Facts of the Week