Abstract Today, cars last about ten years. This lifespan could be extended to an optimum of 18–25 years. The critical component is the body shell, and more research is needed before all-aluminium bodies could be mass produced. Such a car would consume less material resources in the long run (300 000km), although it would cost about 30% more than the conventional car. Over a decade or so its production would decrease employment in the car industry by about 4%, while increasing employment in the short term.