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Press release – 9 September 2015
The new BMW 7 Series reveals what will be the future of the CFRP in German Carmakers


At the Frankfurt International Motor Show IAA 2015, which will be held from 19 to 27 September, BMW will present the sixth generation of the 7 Series. Built on the site of Dingolfing (Germany), the new 7 Series will be produced at around 50 000 units per year (Inovev forecast).


More than the volume of production expected, the new BMW 7 Series represents a technological breakthrough compared to the previous generation.
According to the carmaker, the new model is 130 kg lighter than the previous generation, when the bodyshell is 40 kg lighter.

This mass reduction is a direct consequence of a mix material use, including aluminium, steel and notably CFRP (Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastics).   


The BMW 7 Series is the first middle volume vehicle to use CFRP structure elements in the body with the objective to reduce the mass and to reinforce the strength. In particular, CFRP is used in the frame core, roof frame, side sills, pillars and central tunnel.

 BMW-7Series-CFRP-1  BMW-7Series-CFRP-2

 Source: BMW

 Actually, the new BMW 7 series is more than a technical demonstrator for a premium brand. This new model is revealing of a new deal for the carmakers, especially for German premium brands.

Indeed, to reduce CO2 emissions in the road transport sector, European bodies have set targets of  CO2/km to apply to the entire fleet of  vehicles: 95g from 2021 for passenger cars and 147 g from 2020 for light commercial vehicles.
Not all the carmakers have the same positioning versus these targets. While generalists tend to get easily close to them, premium brands like BMW, Audi, Mercedes will have to deploy more efforts. 

One of the ways enabling CO2 decrease is the decrease of weight. However the weight of vehicles has continuously increased (at the exception of the 2009 crisis) from 1990 to 2012.

The automotive industry has deployed many efforts during the same period to decrease the weight of cars. These efforts have been successful as lighter and lighter systems have been developed and mounted on cars. But they could not offset increase of weight driven by the needs of new functionalities: increase of safety, better protection of the environment, improvement of comfort, more convenience for the driver and the passengers.


Source: Inovev


Consequently all carmakers have increased their efforts to decrease the weight of the cars.
The use of Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastics (CFRP) is a very  efficient but expensive way to reduce the weight of the cars.
Two different approaches can be observed:

-       Start as soon as possible in production and, at the same time, decrease the cost of the manufacturing process.This is the path followed by the German Premium carmakers.

-       Develop R&D cooperative programs to develop much less expensive carbon fibers. This is in particular the path followed by the French industry: programme FORCE, under the umbrella of the PFA (Automobile and Mobilities Chain).

Consequently the question arises:do we go towards a sharp rise of CFRP automotive use?

Will body-shell of i-BMWs or BMW 7 Series pave the way to a real breakthrough of CFRP in the automotive industry?

Will new applications of CFRP will emerge in medium-size and mass production in the automotive industry?

Inovev has conducted a comprehensivestudy with the objective to bring elements of answers relating to 5 carmakers (Audi, BMW, Porsche, Volkswagen).

The strategy and the plans of each carmakers have been studied thoroughly, the possible parts to come scrutinised from the current and R&D carmakers’ projects. The entire supply chain from the manufacturing of PAN raw material to the use on the cars has been identified for each carmaker. The market size over next years has been assessed and the quantities in tones analysed according to different criteria.


The study has been conducted by:

-          - Analysing current in-series vehicles and concept vehicles.

-          - Investigating models which will see changes in the next 5 years (new, refresh, new body, new version,…).

-          - Interviewing 33 executives of the automotive industry (8 carmakers, 17 suppliers, 3 independent technical centres).

-          - Combining the information from interviewed people with the know-how of Inovev in terms of forecast.

-          - Collecting raw information and analysing it through a unique combination of automotive market specialists and automotive technologies specialists from Inovev.

Detailed information related to this study can be downloaded by clicking here


For any additional information please contact:

Inovev |

phone+33-952 96 06 |

34 rue Camille Pelletan, 92300 Levallois-Perret - France