The bumpers of the new AUDI A3 are designed to absorb the force of minor collisions and, under stronger impact, they trigger reactions for better pedestrian protection using specially-integrated sensors.
REHAU produces the entire range of front and rear bumper systems for the entire model family including every chassis variant as well as the S-line package and the S3 variants.
A total of more than 50 REHAU employees are part of the A3 project. Our photograph shows the members of the project team together with project manager Danijel Macanovic (second from left).
The project team at the gates of the REHAU Ingolstadt logistics center.
Automobile manufacturer AUDI has once again taken REHAU on board as development partner and series supplier for the next generation of the successful A3 model. The globally active polymer specialist with headquarters in the town of Rehau, Bavaria, has been a reliable partner ever since the series began and currently manufactures the entire range of front and rear bumper systems, including radiator grille / exhaust trims for the entire model family including every chassis variant as well as the S-line package and the S3 variants. In developing these lightweight polymer systems, particular attention was paid to the protection of pedestrians.
The bumpers are designed in such a way as to absorb the force of minor collisions and then reassume their shape. On the other hand, under stronger impact they are rigid enough to trigger reactions for better pedestrian protection using specially integrated sensors. This promises more safety for those inside the vehicle as well as for passers-by. Because the way the bumper reacts to impact – be it with more flexibility or more rigidity – is crucial to whether the required chain reaction of invisible pedestrian protection functions is triggered, such as lifting the hood. This is not necessary with minor collisions. The bumper system is capable of distinguishing between the two.
“There is a lot of expertise in both material and systems behind all this,” explains Niklas Braun, chairman of the Automotive Executive Board at REHAU. “We again succeeded in making an impression with development and production knowhow perfectly tuned to each other.” And in so doing, according to Braun, the major challenge is to master the complexity of the order for the large variety of bumper systems for the third generation A3 model.
At the start of the nineties, REHAU produced just two bumper versions for the A3, but the model family grew to today’s ten bumper versions – for every chassis variant, the S-line package plus the S3 variants. Then there is the fact that production operations for all versions are very close together in time. “This requires absolutely fine interface coordination with the customer and, most of all, within the entire project team – close liaison in the specialist departments, in the production plant, all the way to the assembly line,” explains project manager Danijel Macanovic. More than 50 REHAU staff are involved in the A3 project at REHAU. Some of them for the second time. They bring with them valuable experience from previous startups of this successful compact car model. “The major bumper project for the new AUDI A3 is certainly a challenge for us, as well as an opportunity,” Macanovic adds. “A splendid opportunity for us to once more present ourselves as a flexible, reliable development partner and systems supplier on the international stage.”
Production of the A3 series has already officially begun. At its Feuchtwangen production site, REHAU is injection molding the bumper systems for the 3 and 5 door models. The bumpers are then painted in the colors of the range and are then picked and fabricated at the company’s own assembly and logistics center located right at the gates of the Ingolstadt automotive group’s site. REHAU also supplies the AUDI plant in Györ, Hungary, where the other members of the A3 family first see the light of day, on a “just in sequence” basis. From 2013, the bumper systems for the A3 convertible as well as for another possible variant will then be produced on site at a newly-built REHAU car components plant in which the polymer specialist company is investing around 60 million Euro. Approximately 200 new jobs will be created as a result.
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