FIAT selects LyondellBasell’s high-performance Hostacom PP for its new 500 “European Car of the Year

April 15, 2008

Rotterdam, The Netherlands, April 15, 2008 – LyondellBasell Industries’ Hostacom polypropylene resins are being used to produce a range of components for FIAT’s new 500/Cinquecento retro-chic city car, awarded 2008’s “European Car of the Year”.

To address the unique design, functionality and supply requirements of the 500, which features the aesthetics of the original model introduced in the 1950s, Italian car maker FIAT selected LyondellBasell’s reinforced range of Hostacom PP resins for the door panels, interior trim, side claddings and under-hood waterbox of the 500 model.

“Nearly all of the polypropylene interior components of the 500 are produced using Hostacom resins, equivalent to approximately 15 kilograms,” said Fausto Cocola, LyondellBasell’s key account manager for FIAT. “We were also able to meet FIAT’s product sourcing needs by providing material consistency across regions.”

Commitment to Eastern Europe

Components of the 500, which is produced in FIAT’s Tichy, Poland plant, are specified in Italy and the resins are supplied to Eastern European-based auto manufacturing facilities to uniform specifications from LyondellBasell’s Bayreuth, Germany, PP compounding plant.

“With compounding facilities in close proximity to the growing number of automotive manufacturing plants in Eastern Europe, we can provide OEMs with the material consistency they demand, regardless of where their regional operations are located,” said Alain Gourjault, Automotive Marketing Manager at LyondellBasell.

Steel replacement yields performance benefits and cost savings

A tailored, glass-fiber reinforced Hostacom G4 R01 polypropylene was selected to replace steel for the 500’s waterbox, a component located below the cowl-vent grill that collects water run-off from the windscreen. Traditionally the domain of steel or polyamide, the waterbox requires dimensional stability and water resistance as well as resistance to high temperatures originating from the engine compartment.

“In this under-hood environment, we were able to combine performance benefits with cost savings, enabling FIAT to reduce the weight of the finished part significantly,” explained Cocola. “Our resin exhibits a stiffness of almost 9000 MPa, comparable to reinforced engineering plastics.” Thanks to these unique structural properties, the resin has become the only material specified for the FIAT 500’s waterbox.

Superior surface with low gloss

Due to the resins’ ability to deliver outstanding surface aesthetics in combination with low gloss of the finished parts, the 500’s door panels, pillar and seat trim are produced using Hostacom CR 1171 G1 resins. With a new additive package and mineral filler, a FIAT test showed that the compounds surpassed standard polypropylene materials in terms of scratch resistance and surface properties.

Essential to the successful development of the interior and exterior components was LyondellBasell’s design and development expertise.

Remake of an iconic original

FIAT, which launched the first 500 on July 4, 1957, renewed the legacy of the legendary automobile exactly 50 years later and brought the vehicle back into the market on July 4, 2007. The 2008 “European Car of the Year” has been acclaimed as the most outstanding new car to go on sale in the last 12 months. The 500 also received a Five Star Crash Test Rating for interior safety by the European New Car Assessment Programme.

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 LyondellBasell Industries is one of the world’s largest polymers, petrochemicals and fuels companies. We are the global leader in polyolefins technology, production and marketing; a pioneer in propylene oxide and derivatives; and a significant producer of fuels and refined products, including bio-fuels.  Through research and development, LyondellBasell develops innovative materials and technologies that deliver exceptional customer value and products that improve quality of life for people around the world. Headquartered in The Netherlands, LyondellBasell ( is privately owned by Access Industries.

FIAT selects LyondellBasell’s high-performance Hostacom PP for its new 500 “European Car of the Year

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