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Environment Tops Cost as Top Auto Industry Challenge

April 11, 2008
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DETROIT, April 10, 2008 – A new survey conducted by DuPont and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) shows that environmental issues top the list of challenges facing the automotive industry, outranking cost reduction for the first time in 14 years.

A total of 53% of the respondents said that a basket of environmental factors such as fuel economy, CAFÉ and emissions or clean air regulations are the top challenges vs. 32% who cited cost. The survey was conducted among automotive designers and engineers in advance of the upcoming SAE World Congress in Detroit.

“While cost reduction remains very important, the automotive industry’s emphasis is on the environment and the demands that puts on innovation,” said Chris Murphy, director – Americas, for DuPont Automotive. “In the results, environmental considerations are driving system and vehicle design and development and are a differentiator in the consumer marketplace. Automotive designers and engineers are working with suppliers like DuPont to address these issues and to design and develop cost-effective, fuel-efficient vehicles with reduced environmental impact.”

The annual DuPont Automotive/SAE survey of OEM and supplier designers and engineers was conducted by Consumer Insights, Inc. Key findings include:

· Fifty-four percent of respondents say that fuel-efficient vehicles with reduced environmental impact are important to consumers. Forty one percent say enhanced safety and 37% say improved comfort and convenience are important to consumers.

· For the fifth consecutive year, alternatively powered vehicles are predicted to have the greatest impact on the industry. Sixty percent selected alternatively powered vehicles in 2008, while 15% selected safety features and 16 percent selected electrical/electronic advances. Future is Bright for Diesel

· Fifty percent of respondents see diesel engine technology as a key focus to help achieve 2020 efficiency regulations (35-mpg in U.S. and sub-120g/km CO2 in Europe), while 46% say hybrid-electric powertrains and 42% say extensive use of lightweight materials.

· Optimizing diesel and hybrid-electric engines will dominate engineers’ work for the next 10 years, say 25% and 24% of respondents, respectively.

· In 10 years, vehicles will run on bio-based diesel fuel (27%); petroleum-based diesel (20%) and E85 (20%). Only 18% predict gasoline will dominate.

Materials Matters

· Cost reduction is still one of the top material selection criteria, say 91%, but weight reduction jumps to the top of the criteria list for 82%, up from 66% last year.

· Poised to grow the most over the next 10 years are advanced composites, say 62% of respondents. Bio-based, renewable materials will grow the most, say 26%; the same number who predicts aluminum will grow the most.

DuPont is a science-based products and services company. Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere. Operating in more than 70 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture and food; building and construction; communications; and transportation.

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