Common Automotive Plastic Materials for the Automotive Industry

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Automotive plastic materials are increasingly used in the construction of modern cars. they are often referred to as the materials of the future due to their light weight, strength, and easy formability. With the development of plastic processing technologies, the range of applications in the modern automotive industry is growing. In this article, we will explore the common automotive plastic materials types, applications, and advantages in the automotive industry.

Common Automotive Plastic Materials Used in the Automotive Industry

Polypropylene (PP):

Known for its weight-saving properties, chemical resistance, and robustness, making it an important material in various automotive contexts.

Applications: From automotive interiors to under-the-hood components, PP materials applications require a balance of durability and lightness.

What are the considerations for PP injection molding? Please click on our previous article.

A Comprehensive Guide For PP Injection Molding

Polyethylene (PE):

A lightweight and cost-effective solution, PE boasts corrosion resistance and flexibility, making it a reliable choice for critical components.

Applications: PE usually applies in fuel tanks, pipes, and cable insulation automotive parts that demand resilience and adaptability.

Polyurethane (PU):

PU is recognized for its comfort-enhancing properties, durability, and sound-absorbing capabilities. This plastic material elevates the interior experience in modern vehicles.

Applications: From luxurious seat cushions to essential dashboard components, PU excels in providing comfort, flexibility, and effective insulation.

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS):

A perfect amalgamation of strength, impact resistance, and moldability, ABS contributes to the durability and aesthetics of various automotive components.


Applications: ABS’s versatility finds expression in both interior and exterior trims, including impact-resistant bumpers, dashboards, car body parts, and wheel covers.


What are the considerations for ABS injection molding? Please check our previous article: A Comprehensive Guide For ABS Injection Molding

Polyamide (Nylon):

Nylon’s exceptional mechanical properties, including high tensile strength and wear resistance, fortify the structural integrity of vital components.


Applications: Essential in engine components, bearings, and gears, Nylon’s strength and heat resistance play a vital role in critical automotive parts.


What are the considerations for Nylon injection molding? Please check our previous article: A Comprehensive Guide For Nylon Injection Molding

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC):

PVC offers a good balance of strength and flexibility, making it suitable for various automotive applications.

Applications: Used in cable insulation, interior panels, and floor coverings due to its durability and flame resistance.

Polystyrene (PS):

PS is lightweight, cost-effective, and can be molded into intricate shapes, contributing to its widespread use in automotive interiors.

Applications: Commonly used in interior components, such as instrument panels and door trims, for its affordability and ease of molding.

Polycarbonate (PC):

PC provides excellent optical clarity, and high impact resistance, and is lightweight, making it suitable for transparent automotive parts.


Applications: Used in automotive lighting components, including headlights and taillights, due to its transparency and impact resistance.

What are the considerations for PP injection molding? Please check our previous article: A Comprehensive Guide For Polycarbonate Injection Molding

Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA):

PMMA offers optical clarity similar to glass but with the advantage of being lightweight and impact-resistant.

Applications: Found in automotive light covers and displays for their transparency, weather resistance, and scratch resistance.

Polyoxymethylene (POM):

POM provides excellent dimensional stability, low friction, and resistance to wear, making it suitable for high-precision automotive applications.

Applications: Used in various precision parts like gears, handles, and seatbelt components due to its high stiffness and low friction.

Advantages of Automotive Plastic Materials Used in the Automotive Industry

Lightweight Design and Fuel Efficiency

Plastics play an important role in reducing overall vehicle weight. This reduction means improved fuel efficiency, allowing vehicles to cover more miles with less fuel consumption.

Durability and Impact Resistance

Plastics have excellent durability and impact resistance. From bumpers to interior components, plastic materials absorb and dissipate energy during collisions, enhancing overall vehicle safety. The ability to withstand impacts contributes to a strong automotive structure.


Beyond their functional benefits, plastics prove to be cost-effective materials in the manufacturing process. Easy to mold, reduced production time and the availability of a wide range of affordable plastic materials contribute to significant cost savings. The plastics allow manufacturers to lower manufacturing costs with high-quality automotive components.

Design Flexibility

The malleability of plastic materials allows for the creation of sleek, modern, and aerodynamically efficient designs. From curves to complex geometries, plastics allow designers to create performance efficiently and aesthetic appeal automotive parts.

Minimal Corrosion Damage

Plastics are corrosion resistant, and longer the automotive components lifespan. Unlike traditional metal parts, plastics are corrosion-resistant, ensuring that automotive parts, from interior components to under-the-hood elements, remain durable and reliable over time. This resistance to corrosion contributes to the overall robustness of the vehicle.


Automotive plastic materials are replacing expensive metal materials due to their machinability and mechanical properties. With the development of plastic material technology, more and more automotive parts can be manufactured by automotive plastic. This article provided the common high-performance plastics used in automotive plastics, their properties, and how the industry uses them. If you are ready to get started on your project, and looking for plastic molding services, contact Zhongde, please.

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