BMW to collaborate with Boeing on carbon fiber

FRANKFURT Wed Dec 12, 2012 5:41am EST

BMW luxury car logo's are pictured in a spare part store at a BMW garage in Niderwangen near Bern, May 24, 2012. REUTERS/Pascal Lauener

BMW luxury car logo's are pictured in a spare part store at a BMW garage in Niderwangen near Bern, May 24, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Pascal Lauener

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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German carmaker BMW (BMWG.DE) and U.S. aircraft maker Boeing (BA.N) are to exchange information about making carbon fiber, an emerging battleground among auto and plane makers.

BMW said on Wednesday the two companies aimed to advance research for carbon fiber recycling and know-how about manufacturing and automation.

The deal intensifies competition between BMW and rival Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE), which already has a collaboration deal with Boeing through its Italian sportscar unit Lamborghini.

Last year, BMW moved to extend its influence over carbon fiber manufacturer SGL Carbon (SGCG.DE) after VW accumulated a stake in the company. BMW and SGL jointly built a new carbon fiber plant in Moses Lake, Washington.

Carbon fiber is 30 percent lighter than aluminum and 50 percent lighter than steel, a crucial advantage to help cut vehicle weight and carbon dioxide emissions.

Boeing's 787 Dreamliner is 50 percent made of carbon fiber material, and BMW plans to start selling vehicles with a carbon passenger cell late next year.

(Reporting By Edward Taylor; Editing by Dan Lalor)

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