LONDON - 'We are pushing the technical side of the business,' said Textron Automotive Chief Executive John Janitz. He offered several examples of high-tech projects:
A hollow, blow-molded fan shroud that also serves as the radiator overflow container and the windshield washer fluid reservoir. It will be in a North American car, model year 2000
A slush-molded urethane instrument panel with a 10-year lifespan. The panel is recyclable, and it can be molded in two colors at once. It is on Chrysler's new LH platform
An instrument panel in the Dodge Dakota pickup truck developed with Dow Plastic and Chrysler Corp. that requires no steel crossbeam
An electronically controlled bladder and valve system for lumbar systems in seats that automatically adjust the seat to fit the sitter. It is already in two vehicles under development
A way of building plastic fuel tanks in layers. The process tightens the plastic so fumes don't escape. Previously, a fluorination process was required to seal the plastic, and that process was illegal in Japan. Now, Textron can sell plastic tanks more aggressively there
A fuel tank requiring no fuel cap. The project is in development.