The company said Sept. 11 it will use 3-D printers to mass-produce parts for its vehicles. The company said it will, starting immediately, use “metal printing technology” to make select parts, including gearshift knobs and custom tailgate lettering. Within two to three years, it will mass produce structural parts using the same technology, reports CNN. An advantage that 3-D printing has over traditional methods, said Martin Goede, head of technology planning and development, “is that it allows us to produce many of these parts without first having to build manufacturing tools [to produce them].” The technology eventually will allow for even highly stressed parts, such engine pistons, to be 3-D printed, Goede told CNN.
3-D printing means that parts can be made without developing expensive tooling, which is particularly useful for low-volume pieces.