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Honda, Nissan aim to mass produce fiber-body cars

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By V. Phani Kumar, MarketWatch

HONG KONG (MarketWatch) -- Japanese auto giants Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. have joined with Toray Industries Inc. to develop a new carbon-fiber material for use in auto bodies, aiming to mass produce cars that are lighter by as much as 40% than steel-built vehicles, according to a report Thursday.

The group aims to establish mass production technology for the new material by the middle of the next decade, the Nikkei business daily reported, without citing a source.

Honda /zigman2/quotes/207173990/composite HMC -3.86% /zigman2/quotes/200490352/delayed JP:7267 +0.03% , Nissan /zigman2/quotes/207656007/delayed NSANY +0.24% /zigman2/quotes/208298710/delayed JP:7201 -2.06% and Toray /zigman2/quotes/203760457/delayed JP:3402 -0.65% will be joined in their efforts by textile firms Mitsubishi Rayon Co. and Toyoba Co. /zigman2/quotes/205340851/delayed JP:3101 +0.95% , plastic parts maker Takagi Seiko Corp. /zigman2/quotes/209591793/delayed JP:4242 0.00% and researchers from the University of Tokyo, the Nikkei report added.

The joint efforts come during steep increases in iron ore prices recently, which have in turn inflated steel prices and raw material costs for automakers across the world.

Although carbon fiber now is several times more expensive than steel or aluminum, the price gap is expected to narrow because there is significant room for increasing production of the new material, according to the report.

If successful, the efforts will help produce lighter vehicles than can also improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.

Successful mass production would also be a big leap in the evolution of the automotive industry, as although it is tough and light, carbon fiber's high costs currently limit its usage to concept cars and a select few high-end sports vehicles.

/zigman2/quotes/207173990/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 24.64
-0.99 -3.86%
Volume: 2.19M
May 16, 2022 4:00p
P/E Ratio
6.71
Dividend Yield
3.33%
Market Cap
$44.23 billion
Rev. per Employee
$612,676
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JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 3,176.00
+1.00 +0.03%
Volume: 4.64M
May 17, 2022 3:00p
P/E Ratio
7.73
Dividend Yield
3.78%
Market Cap
¥5722.22 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
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US : U.S.: OTC
$ 7.69
+0.02 +0.24%
Volume: 74,059
May 16, 2022 3:52p
P/E Ratio
7.72
Dividend Yield
0.00%
Market Cap
$14.83 billion
Rev. per Employee
$566,564
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/zigman2/quotes/208298710/delayed
JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 484.50
-10.20 -2.06%
Volume: 17.68M
May 17, 2022 3:00p
P/E Ratio
8.80
Dividend Yield
1.03%
Market Cap
¥1918.78 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥63.67M
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/zigman2/quotes/203760457/delayed
JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 630.50
-4.10 -0.65%
Volume: 4.12M
May 17, 2022 3:00p
P/E Ratio
12.11
Dividend Yield
2.85%
Market Cap
¥1028.59 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
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/zigman2/quotes/205340851/delayed
JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 1,067.00
+10.00 +0.95%
Volume: 370,900
May 17, 2022 3:00p
P/E Ratio
5.82
Dividend Yield
3.75%
Market Cap
¥94.23 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥36.27M
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/zigman2/quotes/209591793/delayed
JP : JASDAQ
¥ 1,725.00
0.00 0.00%
Volume: 1,100
May 17, 2022 12:36p
P/E Ratio
15.07
Dividend Yield
1.74%
Market Cap
¥4.46 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥15.16M
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Varahabhotla Phani Kumar is a reporter in MarketWatch's Hong Kong bureau.

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