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Plastic body kits gaining ground

Selections in PU and other polymers are expanding as light weight remains a key R&D target.

China suppliers of body kits, grille guards and racks are introducing more plastic models rather than metal types. The former is lighter than steel and aluminum versions, a major advantage amid fuel efficiency concerns. It also allows for greater design flexibility, enabling makers to contour exterior accessories for various applications.

Body kit

This body kit from Shenzhen Xingdacheng comes with bumpers, side skirts and a spoiler.

PU is a popular choice for body kits because of its strength and durability, with even major companies such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz now using the material. A key advantage of the plastic is that it can withstand temperatures ranging from -40 to 80 C. In addition, it is resistant to abrasion, oils, solvents, UV rays and other environmental elements.

Shenzhen Xingdacheng Enterprise Co. Ltd offers exterior modifications made of PU from South Korea and Germany. Among these are bumper lips for the BMW E90 series, Subaru Impreza and Honda Civic.

At Auto Parts Tech (Hong Kong) Ltd, roof boxes are manufactured from special composite plastic board. A recyclable material, SPCB is also light and durable. It is UV- and scratch-resistant, suitable for harsh environments.

By following the trend for lightweight models, suppliers hope to fortify their foothold both in the aftermarket and OE segments. This is particularly true for those exploring growth opportunities within China, which is now the largest vehicle market in the world.

Overseas, several companies are planning to enter or boost deliveries to the Middle East. Those getting stable orders from the US are considering shipping to Canada and Mexico.

To ensure designs are up-to-date with the latest vehicle releases and trends in their chosen markets, suppliers invest in an in-house team for R&D. At interviewed companies, these groups include at least 10 engineers. Annual allocations for product development and related tasks range from $150,000 to $1 million or more.

In addition, midsize and large makers have installed automated production equipment such as CNC machines and mechanical welting arms in their factories. Their plants also house facilities for testing key performance parameters, including hardness and resistance to impact and corrosion.


Products & prices


China offers a range of exterior modifications. Models come in plastic such as PC, PU and ABS, carbon fiber, and steel and aluminum alloys.

Suppliers typically offer several lines using the same material, sourcing most of their requirement from local providers. Adoption of imported grades is limited to upscale products.

Designs for passenger cars and off-road vehicles make up approximately 80 percent of China’s selection. The rest suits commercial vehicles and trucks.

More than 90 percent of overseas-bound products go to the aftermarket. In terms of domestic orders, the segment accounts for 70 percent, while the rest are from carmakers.

Bumpers and grille guards top China’s output and exports of exterior modifications, followed by racks and side skirts. Spoilers, license plate frames, side door streamers, mirror covers, window visors and fender trims are also available.

In 2010, shipments of bumpers and other vehicle body parts amounted to nearly $2 billion. The US, Japan, South Korea, Germany and Malaysia were among the main markets.

Bumpers: These are commonly made of plastic and produced via injection molding, but iron and steel models are also available. Prices start at $5 each.

Front bumpers not exceeding $11 are in PP, ABS or iron with a painted finish. Most are for low-end light vehicles such as sedans and pickup trucks.

Going for $12 to $30, the midrange selection includes fiberglass-reinforced plastic and PU designs for midpriced sedans, SUVs and off-road vehicles. Chrome plating is an option for the surface treatment.

More expensive bumpers constitute variants for luxury sedans and sports cars. Steel and titanium alloy versions can be found in this segment.

Lips: These accessories are usually meant to be placed under the front and rear bumpers of sedans and sports cars. PU and carbon fiber are the common materials used in the line.

Prices start at $15 and may exceed $350 per set for a front or rear bumper, depending on the intended application. Models higher than $150 are for luxury cars such as those of BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche.

Grille guards: The selection in this category consists of designs for the front and rear bumpers of SUVs, transport vehicles and off-road types.

Chrome-plated models in iron, steel, stainless steel and aluminum alloys are priced from $10 to $70 per piece. Grille guards made of plastic go for $5 to $50 each.

Racks: China-made roof racks and boxes consist of universal and custom designs.

Low-end racks are 2-bar types ranging from $5 to $24 These are made of iron, steel or aluminum alloy and come with plastic or rubber accessories. They may be spray-painted or powder-coated.

Midrange models, priced from $25 to $70 per set, are gridshaped. The line uses materials similar to low-end designs, but stainless steel variants are also available.

The selection in this segment includes designs meant specifically to hold kayaks and bikes. Some of those for luggage come with nylon nets.

Upward to $200, options comprise roof boxes made of engineering plastic such as ABS, acrylic and FRP. Their surfaces are painted or coated with baking varnish.


Product gallery

Roof box

Product gallery

Auto Parts Tech (Hong Kong) Ltd

Model: Dolphin-32
MOQ: 100 pieces
Delivery: 30 days
Description: Roof box; SCPB; scratch- and water-resistant

Body kit

Shenzhen Xingdacheng Enterprise Co. Ltd

Model: GMC Chev WTCC Cruze
MOQ: 1 set
Delivery: 3 days
Description: Body kit; includes spoiler, front and rear bumpers, and two side skirts; ABS

Front bumper lip

Shenzhen Xingdacheng Enterprise Co. Ltd

Model: Subaru Impreza 0305
Front Bumper Lip
MOQ: 5 pieces
Delivery: 3 days
Description: Front bumper lip; PU; 165x30x45cm; 2kg; black or gray

Front bumper lip

Shenzhen Xingdacheng Enterprise Co. Ltd

Model: Honda Civic 92-95 Front Lip
MOQ: 20 pieces
Delivery: 3 days
Description: Front bumper lip; PU; 165x30x45cm; 2kg; black

Air vent trim

Wenzhou Libao Automobile Fittings Co. Ltd

Model: LF-FC338
MOQ: 100 sets
Delivery: 30 days
Description: Air vent trim; ABS or stainless steel; glossy finish

Door handle cover

Wenzhou Libao Automobile Fittings Co. Ltd

Model: LL-R209
MOQ: 100 sets
Delivery: 30 days
Description: Door handle cover; ABS or stainless steel; glossy finish


Note: This article "Plastic body kits gaining ground" was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade withChina manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazinestrade shows and industry research.

All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.

Disclaimer: All product images are provided by the companies interviewed and are for reference purposes only. Those product images featuring products with trademarks, brand names or logos are not intended for sale. We, our affiliates, and our affiliates' respective directors, officers, employees, representatives, agents or contractors, do not accept and will not have any responsibility or liability for product images (or any part thereof) which infringe on any intellectual property or other rights of a third party.

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