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The back-to-basics, composite-bodied Jeep(R) Willys concept vehicle pays homage to Jeep vehicles of the past while showcasing the design and technology of the 21st century. “We designed this concept vehicle with the self-expressive, free-thinker in mind,” said Trevor Creed, Senior Vice President – Design, DaimlerChrysler Corporation. “The Jeep Willys’ usefulness and versatility were developd to exist in ecological harmony with nature while being perfectly suited for the rigors of an active lifestyle. Call it the pure American.” The Willys, unveiled at the 2001 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, features plastic body-technology, allowing for a radical approach to Jeep design while remaining true to the brand’s legendary capability. Shown in several concept vehicles designed by the Chrysler Group, injection-molded plastic bodies save up to 50 percent in weight and manufacturing costs and are nearly 100 percent recyclable. The molded-in-color plastic allows designers to create shapes not permitted with stamped metal, such as the crisp, rigid lines that give the Willys its high-tech, machined appearance. The Jeep Willys’ lightweight aluminum frame-web is similar to technologies found in today’s top performance sports and military equipment. While its battle-proven, World War II ancestor was made of sheet metal, this concept was built in carbon fiber to simulate the weight savings that could be achieved with injection-molded plastics. Frame-web technology molds the one-piece carbon fiber body to an aluminum frame, giving the Jeep Willys industry- leading rigidity.
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