The interior of the 2014 Lincoln MKX will feature a new tree-based component in place of one made from fiberglass.
Called Cellulose Reinforced Polypropylene (CRP), the material is the result of a three-year collaboration between Ford/Lincoln, sustainable solutions firm Weyerhaeuser, and auto parts supplier Johnson Controls. It is roughly six percent lighter and more eco-friendly than fiberglass, and will replace the latter in the floor console armrest substrate — a structural piece located within the center console armrest. To note, components made from CRP are roughly 6 percent lighter than those made of fiberglass.
Used in Ford Motor Company prototype vehicles in the past, the use of CRP in the 2014 MKX marks its first use in a production vehicle. And although the use of CRP is small in the MKX, its potential to play a bigger, more impactful role in the future is noteworthy.
“If we transfer its use to larger parts, it could really benefit the vehicle weight, which benefits fuel economy,” said Ellen Lee, plastics research technical expert for Ford Motor Company. “Cellulose has good reinforcement, so we looked at fiberglass-reinforced materials for this project.”
Although the use of CRP in the 2014 MKX is small and in an area that’s not forward-facing to the user, Lincoln believes that customers will appreciate its existence, as the added element of being eco-friendly is “unique and provides context to the purchase of the luxury item”.
“Today’s Lincoln customer is someone who appreciates luxury but it has to have meaning in the larger picture,” said Dan Brady, Lincoln consumer marketing manager. “They want to be proud of their car for what it does for them but they also want a sustainability that provides something more. This customer is about an automotive brand that has stunning design as well as personal bonus such as an environmentally impactful element.”