GOOGLE found this article about the Chrysler CCV.
Developed in 1997.... aimed at the CHINA market,
killed when Daimler took over Chrysler.
Sounds like a neat idea for an urban commuter car....
Published: October 3, 1997
The Chrysler Corp. has developed a small car aimed at developing nations that
would cost half as much as its cheapest American-built model, would be almost
totally recyclable and could go 50 miles on a gallon of gasoline. Perhaps more
important, it could be made in a way that eliminates expensive and
pollution-prone operations in assembly plants, with body panels molded from the
plastic used for soda bottles.
And Chrysler says the Composite Concept Vehicle, or CCV, could lead to drastic
changes in the way it makes all its cars and trucks.
The CCV stemmed from a challenge to the company's advanced engineering
operation, called the Liberty group, from Robert A. Lutz, Chrysler's vice
chairman, and Francois J. Castaing, the executive vice president for
international operations. Holding toy cars in their hands, the executives urged
the engineers to build real cars that would be just as simple. The CCV that
resulted was shown to the public last month at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
Liberty's engineers were inspired by two cars famous for their simplicity: the
Citroen 2CV, a basic front-wheel-drive car developed in France before World War
II and sold until 1990, and the Volkswagen Beetle, designed by Ferdinand
Porsche in the 1930's as Germany's ''people's car.''
The CCV sedan is every bit as simple as the Beetle and 2CV, and its design,
with a tall cabin, flat sides and rounded nose, intentionally resembles the
In its initial configuration, the CCV is powered by a tiny 2-cylinder,
25-horsepower engine. Its 50 m.p.g. economy rating, on either leaded or
unleaded gasoline, is aided by its light weight -- just 1,200 pounds. Because
the engine is air cooled, there is no need for a radiator.
At roughly 12 feet long, the CCV is 2 feet shorter than Chrysler's Neon but is
10 inches taller and far more roomy, with seating for five and room for their
overnight bags. Its ''convertible top'' is a canvas tarpaulin that can be
The CCV's 8.8 inches of ground clearance, on par with the rugged Jeep Wrangler,
allows the CCV to traverse primitive third-world roads or to blaze its own
The car's bare-bones qualities were evident during a brief drive recently at
Chrysler's test track here. The car is missing many features that drivers in
the West have long taken for granted. With no power steering, the driver must
crank the wheel hard. The brakes -- also lacking power assist -- require firm
foot pressure. The steering-column shifter for the four-speed manual
transmission requires multiple motions to change a gear.
This is not a car for German Autobahns or unlimited-speed interstates in
Montana. Loaded with four people, the CCV barely hit 50 kilometers an hour, or
31 miles an hour. With the gas pedal to the floor and no passengers, it reached
about 50 m.p.h.
The interior was noisy but not deafening. There are no amenities. A half-dozen
pull-out knobs control features like the air vents and the single windshield
wiper. The window washer is sprayed by pushing a device like the trigger of a
water pistol. A knob is used to slide the windows up and down. The seats --
with foam padding instead of the lawn-chair webbing considered for some other
cheap cars -- were comfortable.
Chrysler says that if the CCV goes into production it will sell for $6,000,
about half the price of a Neon. Potential buyers may be people in Asia who are
now riding motor scooters, said Thomas Moore, general manager of the Liberty
The CCV consists of five basic parts: a full-frame steel structure and four
plastic body panels (two for the inside, two for the outside). The body panels
are the largest of their kind ever made, Mr. Moore said.
New technology was required to mold the panels and meet the goals for the car's
cost and weight. More than 20 patents related to the manufacturing process are
The plastics used in the car are the same as those used for drink bottles, a
ready supply of which exists in emerging markets. To be precise, the CCV's body
is made of 2,132 two-liter bottles. At the end of the car's life, 15 percent of
its plastic can be turned into more CCV's; the rest can be recycled into
products like park benches.
Plastics have the long held the advantage over steel of being lightweight,
which is crucial for fuel efficiency, and they are resistant to dings and
dents. But the material has been expensive, although the cost has been reduced
by using recycled plastics and new processing methods.
The parts are molded in color -- baby blue, in the case of the CCV --
eliminating the need for a costly paint shop in the auto-assembly complex. At
an average cost of $350 million, paint shops are among the most expensive parts
of an assembly plant, and their emissions are troublesome.
The rest of the assembly operation would also be quite simple. A Neon requires
75 to 100 stampings into its metal body structure. But as Chrysler envisions
the CCV's manufacturing operation, plastic would be injected into giant molds
and the resulting panels could immediately be bonded with adhesive. The CCV
would have only 1,100 parts, compared with 4,000 for a conventional vehicle,
and it would take only 6.5 hours to build one, compared with 19 for the Neon.
Because there would be no paint shop or body-assembly area, a CCV plant would
require less land. While the Neon manufacturing operation occupies two million
square feet of space in several buildings, the CCV could be built under a
single roof in 300,000 square feet.
''The manufacturing concept is innovative but feasible,'' said Jim Harbor of
Harbor & Associates, a manufacturing consulting firm in Troy, Mich.
Mr. Moore, the Liberty manager, said that once the process was perfected, it
could be used on other Chrysler vehicles. But first, cars with the molded
bodies must satisfy safety regulators in Europe and North America. In addition,
Mr. Moore said consumers in Western countries, accustomed to glossy paint,
might not like the panels' matte finish. ''We're trying to figure out a way to
create a shiny surface using the same process,'' he said.
And although the panels are easy to repair -- the damaged section can be cut
away and replaced with another piece of plastic -- the result is quite
noticeable. The long-term durability of the large pieces of bonded plastic is
For now, the CCV offers a promising opportunity for Chrysler in emerging
markets like India and China. It could be in production by 2000.