The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

Hydroformed Aluminum Frame Rails from Vari-Form Help GM Reduce Weight of the New-Generation 2014 Corvette Stingray


chevy corvette (select to view enlarged photo)
214 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

TROY, MI--May 29, 2013: Participation in the much-anticipated debut of the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray successfully extends the collaboration between Vari-Form and General Motors.

This summer, Vari-Form will begin production of all-aluminum hydroformed frame rails for the new-generation 2014 Corvette Stingray. This advanced technology yields greater design strength, torsional stiffness and vehicle durability. Corvette owners and enthusiasts will feel these improvements where they matter most -- in body-hugging ride, racetrack-worthy handling, and cling-to-the-road performance. Fuel economy is another important deliverable, resulting from lower weight and reduced complexity made possible by patented Vari-Form Pressure-Sequence Hydroforming.

The integration of Vari-Form hydroformed frame rails in the new 2014 Corvette Stingray brings forward expertise successfully applied to the current model 2013 Corvette. The Vari-Form manufacturing facility in Strathroy, Ontario, Canada received the General Motors Supplier Quality Excellence Award in 2012 for consistent operational excellence related to the production of this component.

For 2014, the Corvette Stingray incorporates substantial structural changes, resulting in a 99-pound reduction in weight and a 57-percent increase in stiffness compared to the steel structure of the previous model.

Vari-Form Pressure-Sequence Hydroforming technology is a major factor in achieving these advances, which are critical to balancing the need for exceptional performance while addressing ever-stricter crash regulations. It was important for Vari-Form to develop an improved, dimensionally stable frame, starting with the frame rails. The backbone of the body structure is a new frame concept that features left and right hydroformed aluminum tube center sections, bridging the gap between two pairs of connecting nodes and front/rear crush zones. Hydroformed frame rails are optimized for light weight and superior strength, helping deliver classical Corvette handling and improved mileage for the driver.

"Our company is pleased to be part of the biggest model-over-model change to this American icon in decades," said Vari-Form President Stephen Dow. "We tailor the hydroformed aluminum components with the gauge, form and strength needed to help GM realize significant weight advantages, optimal 50/50 front/rear weight balance, world-class power-to-weight ratio, and increased fuel efficiency. By pioneering new technologies and processes, Vari-Form contributes to the achievement of these important goals."