Lincoln to use wood-based fiberglass substitute in new MKX

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The 2014 Lincoln MKX will incorporate Cellulose Reinforced Polypropylene in its center console armrest

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Usually when you hear about wood being used in a car's interior, it's a fancy solid hardwood used to class up the dashboard. On Ford's 2014 Lincoln MKX, however, a relatively new wood-based composite material will be used in place of heavier, less eco-friendly fiberglass.

The material, known as Cellulose Reinforced Polypropylene (and marketed as Thrive), incorporates cellulose fibers "extracted from trees grown in sustainably managed forests" instead of the traditional glass fibers. It reportedly offers tensile and impact strengths close to those of fiberglass, while also being about six percent lighter, having a lower carbon footprint, and utilizing more renewable ingredients.

The Ford Motor Company has used the material in prototypes before, but this is said to be its first application in a production vehicle. That said, it will be confined to a fairly small part of the car – the floor console armrest substrate, which is a structural component inside the center console armrest. If all goes well, however, it could be used more extensively in future models.

The Weyerhaeuser timber company and auto parts supplier Johnson Controls collaborated with the Ford-owned Lincoln Motor Company on the project.

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