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Car structure

Construction of car bodies and production of their components. 

09 September 2022

The car body is a structural element of considerable importance not only for aesthetic reasons, but also in terms of functionality. It includes the load-bearing structure, which provides rigidity and influences the way the rest of the components are assembled, and the bodywork, which is designed to protect against external factors. 

What are the components of the car body? 

The division of the body into load-bearing structure and bodywork is only a basic distinction. In addition to this, it is necessary to distinguish a number of specific components included in each of these subcomponents. The number of parts used to produce a body for a passenger car depends largely on its design and production method. In most cases, it is possible to distinguish: 

  • hull; 
  • finishing elements; 
  • equipment. 

The hull is precisely the vehicle's load-bearing structure, which, in addition to ensuring the proper arrangement of components, is responsible for transferring static and dynamic loads. Important components of the body, which are found in almost every vehicle, include: 

  • bumpers; 
  • mudguards; 
  • lights; 
  • brackets; 
  • fuel tanks; 
  • mirrors; 
  • engine covers. 

Nowadays, components such as a car bumper are manufactured mainly to provide effective protection for passengers and pedestrians during a collision. They are characterized by a resilient design that functions as a shock absorber at the time of a collision. The energy is absorbed by the bumper absorber, protecting both the participants in the accident and the mechanical components behind it. Another very important body component is the car's wheel cover, which shields other components from mud, water and various debris. 

Monocoque body vs. frame 

The load-bearing structure in passenger cars can be realized in different variants, for example, as a monocoque body or a load-bearing frame. The first type connects a number of different components together using welds, while in the case of a frame, they are attached to it, and then the body is laid on top. 

Monocoque body is distinguished by its sturdy, welded structure made of sheet metal and steel beams. The frame, in turn, provides very high rigidity and is responsible for transferring the loads that occur during driving. The bodies mounted on it include frame or frameless structures – the first type is distinguished by its lightness and strength. In this case, the frame is covered with a special sheet metal shell, while the frameless body is made of thin steel sheet. 

Car body components ensuring safety and more 

The car body comprises a number of parts whose primary task is to ensure the highest level of safety for the driver, passengers and other road users. These include shock-absorbing components and radiator grilles. In order to manufacture these components, the foamed polypropylene (EPP) molding method is often used. This material has a number of advantages, including effective energy absorption, as well as low weight. Shock absorbing components and radiator grilles made of EPP primarily improve pedestrian safety and optimize the weight of the entire vehicle. 

Other components that are important in terms of safety include a dashboard (cockpit of a car) with its individual components. Manufacturing such parts from shock-absorbing EPP foam guarantees optimal driver safety in the event of an accident. Foamed polypropylene is also used to produce door panels adapted to absorb the energy of side impacts. 

The most popular car body types 

Car manufacturers use different body styles, with their types, advantages and disadvantages reflected in specific parameters regarding passenger and driver comfort as well as driving characteristics. The right choice is crucial in terms of comfort, dynamics and handling capabilities. It also affects the passive safety of the vehicle, as demonstrated by the results of car safety tests. 

SUV body type 

SUVs (sport utility vehicles) combine the advantages of different designs. As a result, they provide users with a high level of travel comfort, a high payload capacity, as well as the ability to efficiently navigate rough roads, often providing four-wheel drive. A characteristic feature of SUV-type bodies is a fairly high ground clearance and a high driving position behind the wheel. 

Compact body 

The term "compact" refers to vehicles with small dimensions, usually resembling small hatchbacks. Their biggest advantage is the ease of getting around town. The use of a compact body usually ensures low vehicle weight, which has a positive effect on driving characteristics, but it also translates into limited trunk capacity. 

Hatchback and liftback body types 

The hatchback body is most often encountered in B-segment vehicles (small-size and city cars) and C-segment vehicles (lower, middle-class compact passenger cars). Its characteristic features include a cropped rear end, small dimensions and a trunk door that opens with the windshield. In many cases, the terms "compact" and "hatchback" are used interchangeably. 

Very similar is the liftback body, which is gently cropped at the rear. The key difference is the rear angle of the car. 

Sedan body type 

A sedan is a body that is characterized by a high level of comfort, the presence of a roomy trunk and considerable space in the passenger cabin. These features, combined with solutions such as the car's soundproofed floorboard and soundproofed doors, mean that drivers can expect great comfort while driving. 

What other types of bodies are used in passenger cars? 

In addition to the above-mentioned solutions, passenger cars also very often use designs such as station wagons, roadsters, coupés, convertibles, minivans, pick-ups and vans. Slightly less common are also limousines and bodies such as dual cowl, fastback, microvan, shooting brake and targa. Other body types worth mentioning include body styles that are not used much these days, but were once quite popular – namely, barchetta, runabout and tudor. 

Reliable manufacturer and supplier of body components 

Poland is currently one of the most important suppliers of components and parts to the automotive sector in Europe – Knauf Industries is the best example of the capabilities of the Polish automotive market. We are a reliable manufacturer and supplier of body components, which are produced using plastic processing methods. The solutions we use include thermoplastic injection molding technology and foamed plastic molding. Knauf's customers can expect robust solutions with well-chosen parameters – we offer plastic automotive parts, included in the body and more. If you are interested in the products offered, feel free to contact our specialists. 

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