General Motors' Saturn unit has begun using Lear’s SonoTec EP lightweight acoustic material in dashboard insulators for the new VUE sport-utility vehicle produced at the Spring Hill, Tennesse, manufacturing plant.

SonoTec EP is a patented, thermoplastic material made from recycled carpet scrap that is 40% lighter than traditional acoustic-barrier material but costs the same as the material Saturn had previously been using. Lear claims that SonoTec EP is also easier to install, which results in reduced scrap rates and improved assembly line efficiency.

"GM's Saturn Corporation is the first original equipment manufacturer to use this new technology in a major application," said Larry Bowen, tech manager for SonoTec EP. "However, we foresee increased demand for it in additional automotive applications in the future."