With fuel economy still one of the primary buzz words in the auto industry these days, manufacturers are looking to do what they can to boost the mileage of their vehicles. When it comes to light trucks, any savings in gas mileage helps, especially in view of impending CAFE regulations. One method General Motors is seriously looking at, concerns louvered radiator grilles.
SRG Global Inc., based in Tayor, Michigan has developed a new design of grill for the General to use on its Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups. According to Dave Prater, SRG’s Vice President of product engineering and development, the new grille design, in essence works like a flap, with moveable louvers, integrated with the grille assembly and controlled by the vehicle’s ECU, opening and closing in response to changes in engine temperature. Closing off the air flow not only reduces carbon dioxide emissions by allowing the engine to warm up faster, but it also boosts fuel economy, since less aerodynamic drag is created at speed.
At Present, BMW AG uses a version of the concept on its 3-Series automobiles, but the louver is a secondary part, mounted behind the grille. SRG’s design for the GM pickups would integrate it with the main assembly. The louvered GM grille program is a push by SRG, a relative newcomer, to gain wider access in the automotive sector, a market which, according to Prater, “has been relatively stagnant over the last several months.”
SRG’s background is chrome plating plastic products (it currently supplies chrome grilles to Honda for use on the Acura TL) and now; thanks to opening a new 46,000 square foot facility in Troy, has in place the tools, staff and expertise to work on developing such products as the GM louvered grille assembly. Time will tell if it proves a success.
[Source: Ward’s Auto World]