Company Recognized for its Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic Inner Panels on Prius Prime, Lexus LC 500

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich., July 31, 2017 – Toyota was presented with an Altair Enlighten Award for its use of innovative weight reducing vehicle closure systems at today’s CAR Management Briefing Seminars (MBS). The award program honored Toyota’s use of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) inner panels on the Prius Prime liftgate and Lexus LC 500 side doors and luggage hatch.
In cooperation with Altair, SAE International and the Center for Automotive Research (CAR), the Altair Enlighten Awards is the industry’s only award program created specifically to acknowledge innovation in vehicle weight reduction. 2017 marks the fifth year for the program.
Toyota’s winning entry involved the company’s expansion of CFRP outside the domain of exotic vehicles. With this new lightweighting technology, the Prius Prime experienced a 40 percent weight savings, compared to an equivalently sized aluminum liftgate.  The Lexus LC registered a 47 percent weight savings on its side door and 40 percent reduction on its luggage hatch, compared to conventional steel structures.
For Toyota, lightweighting of these systems were prioritized to boost battery range and improve liftgate usability for the Prius Prime plug-in hybrid technology, whereas the weight reduction in the Lexus LC was geared toward enhancing the coupe’s dynamic performance.
Toyota’s Altair Enlighten Award was presented on the opening day of MBS, during the World Class Manufacturing session.
“We are excited to offer closure systems that are optimized to the unique mission of each vehicle,” said JP Flaharty, executive program manager at Toyota Motor North America Research & Development. “With CFRP applied to the Prius Prime liftgate and the Lexus LC side doors and luggage hatch, our customers recognize the light touch and high tech appearance of these sophisticated, lightweight door systems. Our entire development team is honored to receive this coveted award.”

Toyota (NYSE:TM), creator of the Prius and the Mirai fuel cell vehicle, is committed to advancing mobility through our Toyota and Lexus brands.  Over the past 60 years, we’ve produced more than 30 million cars and trucks in North America, where we operate 14 manufacturing plants (10 in the U.S.) and directly employ more than 44,000 people (more than 34,000 in the U.S.).  Our 1,800 North American dealerships (nearly 1,500 in the U.S.) sold almost 2.6 million cars and trucks (2.45 million in the U.S.) in 2016 – and about 85 percent of all Toyota vehicles sold over the past 15 years are still on the road today.  
Toyota partners with community, civic, academic, and governmental organizations to address our society’s most pressing mobility challenges. We share company resources and extensive know-how to support non-profits to help expand their ability to assist more people move more places.   
Toyota Motor North America Research & Development (TMNA R&D) aims to redefine next-generation cars as not simply a form of transportation, but as a fully connected vehicle. In fact, Toyota is the leader in automotive patents, including autonomous vehicle patents (over 2,000). Centered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Toyota puts the brightest thinkers from all across America together to focus on letting people live more safely and comfortably. Globally, Toyota spends approximately $1 million per hour on R&D to ensure that Toyota rapidly and continuously develops cutting-edge, high-quality, and appealing vehicles. For more information about Toyota, visit

Curt McAllister
Midwest Corporate Communications
Toyota Motor North America
(313) 318-3906
[email protected]


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Toyota has been presented with an Altair Enlighten Award for its innovative weight reducing use of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) inner panels on the Prius Prime liftgate.

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