Three makers of luxury and sports cars have commissioned Banbury-based Prodrive’s specialist manufacturing division to supply carbon composite parts for 5000 vehicles over six years, in contracts worth more than £10m.

The two manufacturers of luxury cars are using carbon components for the exterior of their cars for the first time, having previously only used carbon for decorative interior trim.

These parts will range in size from door mirrors and bumper inserts to rear diffusers and sill extensions and all will be unpainted, presenting the composite’s weave as the finished, visual surface.

For the sports car manufacturer, Prodrive will manufacture a full carbon interior trim, as well as major external sub-assemblies.

Prodrive’s composites manager Ian Handscombe said: “These are the largest ever contracts for our composites division, both in terms of volume and value, and mark a significant step by vehicle manufacturers towards the increased use of carbon fibre for exterior applications.

“These and other major contracts for motorsport and aerospace businesses will see us double our turnover in 2011.”

With many of the cars destined for hot countries, particular emphasis is being placed on exhaustive environmental testing to ensure durability in extreme climates.

Handscombe added: “These contracts give us an opportunity to bring moulded composites manufacture into a higher volume environment and to demonstrate that with rigorous design and materials selection, the materials are suitable for use in luxury cars, even in vulnerable areas.”