Press Releases

Tenneco Automotive Provides Lightweight Suspension System for General Motors' Precept At North American International Auto Show

January 19, 2000

MONROE, Mich.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 19, 2000--Tenneco Automotive (NYSE: TEN) designed and built the unique, lightweight suspension system that helps the GM Precept technology demonstration vehicle improve aerodynamics, achieve high mileage and reduce emissions. GM unveiled the Precept at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The Precept's suspension system is "a combination of evolving and advanced technologies in a single high end system," said Tenneco Automotive Senior Vice President Tim Jackson. "The Precept suspension is high-tech in several respects, and we are extremely proud of the role Tenneco Automotive has played in helping GM build a practical vehicle for the future with great fuel economy and reduced emissions."

The Precept springs from General Motors' work with the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicle (PNGV), a joint effort between the government and the domestic auto industry that began in 1993. Tenneco Automotive has worked on the vehicle's suspension system in partnership with GM for two years.

The Precept is a five-passenger, mid-size sedan with a lightweight aluminum exterior and a rear-engine design, running on a hybrid diesel-electric power-plant. The Precept is designed to achieve 80 miles per gallon while producing very little emissions, in part by reducing coefficient of drag (Cd) to a new low for a five-seater, 0.163. This is half the average for a mid-size sedan and even less than the 0.190 of GM's EV1 electric car.

The Precept's suspension is a lightweight aluminum four-corner air system with lightweight dampers, mounts and air springs. Comprised entirely of aluminum and plastics, the system utilizes an enhanced bonding technique developed by Tenneco Automotive in Europe in conjunction with a major adhesive manufacturer. These materials eliminate all welding, reduce system weight, and contribute to improved aerodynamics and fuel economy.

Another unique feature of the vehicle is the ability of the suspension system, in part through computer commands by Tenneco Automotive, to change ride heights at different speeds and angles, helping further reduce drag and improving the overall energy efficiency of the vehicle.

"The suspension system for the Precept showcases Tenneco Automotive's abilities to innovate and integrate advanced technologies in a single system," Jackson said. "Importantly, these components are readily applicable to production."

Jackson added: "The Precept suspension system by Tenneco Automotive exemplifies the company's work to bring technologically advanced products to market faster, to leverage strategic alliances and partnerships to their full potential, and to expand our full-system capabilities."

The specific aims of PNGV are lower emissions and up to three times the fuel efficiency of conventional cars without compromising safety, performance, affordability or utility. The timetable called for each partner's proof-of-technical concept vehicle to be ready by 2000 followed by a production prototype in 2004. The Precept showcases the notable progress GM has made toward the 80-mpg stretch target.

Tenneco Automotive is a $3.2 billion automotive and transportation manufacturing company headquartered in Lake Forest, Ill., with 24,000 employees worldwide. Tenneco Automotive is one of the world's largest producers and marketers of ride control and exhaust systems and products, which are sold under the Monroe(R) and Walker(R) global brand names. Among Tenneco Automotive products are Sensa-trac(R) shocks and struts, Rancho(R) shock absorbers, Walker(R) Quiet-Flow(R) mufflers and DynoMax(tm) performance exhaust products, and Monroe(R) Clevite(R) vibration control components.